Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Food Not Lawns
During visits to my paternal grandparents and great-grandparents in Oklahoma, amongst the most memorable parts of the experience was time spent in my great-grandparents garden. They grew beans, peas, tomatoes, okra and various greens, and etc., etc. They had pear and pecan and apple trees, and canned and froze what they couldn't eat during the summer for homegrown food all winter long.
My paternal grandparents had a garden, but it was significantly smaller. My parents gave food gardens a shot during a few years, but put minimal efforts into these endeavors. It seems this is emblematic of food production in this nation in general. Those who came from rural/agrarian roots, and especially those who experienced the Great Depression knew the importance of self-sufficiency, and with a garden at least you don't go hungry even if dirt poor.
These days, though the movement towards more natural and organic foods has become en vogue, most urban yards are yet covered in water-wasting, useless lawns of grass that are generally kept mowed using extremely polluting gasoline mowers.
Whilst wandering out on the West coast, I encountered a group called "Food Not Lawns"--sorta a spin-off of Food-Not-Bombs. These groups of volunteers take "donated" lawn space and plant food. What a concept!! And in fact one many of your grandparents, most of your great-grandparents, and nigh all of your great-great-grandparents took for granted.
Consider walking down the street with apples and plums and pears dangling over the sidewalk, ripe for the pickin'. Imagine Thanksgiving dinner where the carrots, beets, potatoes and salad all grew in what used to be your acre of useless grass. Imagine the security of knowing even if the economy crashes and you lose your job, you will have something to eat.
Consider: Think Globally, Act Locally.