My husband and I lived across the road from Bill Mollison 30 years ago. We were fortunate to meet him and utilize his wisdom and guidance in our very first foray into sustainable living. We had bought a 33 foot high octagon pole home perched on a pounded, clay house build site and even though we were surrounded by bush, creek and some rainforest we were eager to begin planting our own jungle with veggies and exotic fruit trees, added to our bananas already growing there!
His matter of fact, obvious brilliance and practical solutions that harkened back to the 'still someplaces' evident way of life - the lemon/grapefruit/banana trees, chook pen and vegie garden of the Australian household - sang to our hearts as it beckoned in a yet more 'wild' way of planting it. Bill was at that stage doing segments on 'Gardening Australia' and other national TV shows about converting suburban lawns into food. We have always had some food growing and our children learned how as they grew and learned by experience how to do it too. Needless to say, we all have food growing in some way as an automatic part of our way of life. You just can't beat a freshly picked, lovingly grown, chemical free veggie from your back door!
An email from Ocean Robbins today spoke of converting LAWNS INTO FOOD and thought I best share it with you. Common sense though it may be, the facts and figures are astounding...still! His article is written from the US point of view, but it doesn't take a lot of imagination to convert to Aussie living as well. Here's some quotes from his article for you to peruse and the link for more of it at the bottom...
"In many countries today, well-maintained, closely cut, green lawns seem to be almost everywhere. In fact, lawns are the single largest crop in the U.S., covering 32 million acres.
But what if we grew edible gardens, not lawns?
We’ve got about 16 million acres in the United States now growing all of our fruits and vegetables. This means the space American lawns occupy could provide enough land to grow more fruits and vegetables than are now eaten by the entire nation’s population.
Problems with lawns
Lawns aren’t natural, and they’re very demanding — of our time and money. So why do we tend to them at all?
Lawns began in Europe, where the moist, mild climate is good for grass to grow. The spaces around the homes of the wealthy were cultivated with grass — and became status symbols.
When early immigrants came to North America, they brought lawn culture with them. However, the North American climate doesn’t generally support lawn growth. Yet for many Americans, maintaining the perfect lawn continues to this day to be a status symbol and a sign of money and success.
The typical American lawn uses 10,000 gallons of supplemental water (not including rainwater) annually. This a serious problem, especially as we see more and more areas facing water shortages and droughts.
Of course, edible gardens need to be watered, too. But data pulled together by Urban Plantations from the EPA, the Public Policy Institute of California, and the Alliance for Water Efficiency suggests that gardens use 66% less water than lawns.
Growing food, not lawns
If you want to keep a lawn, then choosing an organic lawn maintenance system will likely be a better choice for your health and for the health of the planet.
But more and more people are ditching their lawns. Many are choosing to spend their time, energy and money growing food, instead – improving the health and sustainability of their family and their community in the process.
And even if a small number of people chose to replace their lawns with gardens, it would make a big impact.
Looking for an inspiring example? Check out David Young, an urban farmer in New Orleans, who grows food for people in need for free or at low cost.
Here are 9 of the top benefits that come from growing your own food:
Thinking about growing your own food? I wrote an article about that, too. Click here for tips and tools to get started growing an edible garden on your land!