Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden And Your Neighborhood into a Community

Heather C. Flores


"For activist readers who believe activism is a political pursuit, FOOD NOT LAWNS: HOW TO TURN YOUR YARD INTO A GARDEN AND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD INTO A COMMUNITY offers a different viewpoint, maintaining that growing food where you live is a key method of becoming a food activist in the community. Chapters advocate planting home and community gardens with an eye to drawing important connections between the politics of a home or community garden and the wider politics of usage, consumption, and sustainability. Another rarity: chapters promote small, easy changes in lifestyles to achieve a transition between personal choice and political activism at the community level, providing keys to change any reader can use." - Bookwatch/Midwest Book Review, December 2006

Peak Oil Resources Review:

If you have ever taken a look around your suburban surroundings and thought that it seemed pointless for someone to spend hours and hours fertilizing, weeding, mowing, and trimming a lawn, this book was written for you.  I have had such thoughts.  I even (just once!) fertilized my lawn before I realized how pointless this process was.  All of this time and energy to produce... not fruits, not vegetables... grass clippings.  Sure, a well-kept lawn is attractive.  But it is not nearly as attractive (and fruitful) as a well designed garden.

Heather Flores brings "Paradise Gardening" (essentially permaculture) to paper in a wonderful way that is simply difficult to oppose.  While the arguments for such changes in lifestyle and outdoor design are logical, her reasoning will touch an element of your soul that aches for something more tangible and lasting than a contrived suburban existence.  She starts by examining the futility of modern lawn arrangements and the equally curious structure of our use and waste of water.  She then dives into reviving the soil, designing niches for everything from herbs and vines to vegetables and trees, as well as the stewardship of personal seed stocks  The remainder of the book is devoted to promoting the Paradise Garden philosophy beyond your own little slice of paradise and into the community, and teaching your children and future generations about these principals.  

I picked up this book with much excitement due to my desire to start a "garden".  This has always been an interest of mine from when I was young and being a homeowner now affords me this opportunity.  But what I learned is more than simply how to "garden."  I learned how to design thoughtful and logical arrangements for land and soil wherever I am, city or suburbia.  I discovered techniques for efficiently and effectively using whatever I had and how to find whatever I needed.  Moreover, I learned that one ought not work against nature's cycles, but rather harness them, plug into them, and witness possibilities that will amaze you.  Like other Peak Oil related fare, this book will open your eyes, challenge your assumptions, and inspire you in untold ways.  These principles are a must for a post-fossil fuel world.  

Heather C. Flores
Heather C. Flores, a certified permaculture designer, holds a BA degree in ecology, education, and the arts from Goddard College. She offers environmental landscape design and consultation services. Floresí next project is to use low-tech performance arts to bridge cultural and economic gaps in environmental education. She lives in Oregon.