“100 years ago, no one would water, weed and slave over something they could not eat… they were smarter than us.”
(excerpt from the Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen)
Slowly but surely we are awaking, realizing that what we are eating isn’t healthy, local nor sustainable. Sure it may sustain our hunger for a brief amount of time, but it doesn’t nourish or deliver us the nutrients and the balance we need to live a healthy lifestyle. Often I’ve heard, “I wish we could buy local” or “Organic’s too expensive” – defensive pleas that are all to familiar to us all – we know, because we struggle with our decisions at the grocery store every day. Just like you.
Our solution, a small one at that, is for you (and us) to take it into our own hands. Transform any small space you have into a little piece of garden heaven. A windowsill for herbs. A balcony for potted veggie and fruit plants. And of course, your lawn.
There are over 30 million acres of unused land in the United States alone; the American Lawn. That means 30 millions acres we can use to feed our families, feed our neighbours and our community. Locally. Sustainably and of course, organically.
The average size of an American’s lawn is 1/5 of an acre – which if you evoke a bit of proper, multi-use urban planning (Permaculture) it will yield enough space, veggies and fruits to sustain any size family, and even a small community!
What we want to see are multi-use jungles and mini forests that your children can explore and run around in, planting seedlings, identifying plants and picking fruits. Instead of their skin rolling around in turf that’s been sprayed with toxins, with run off dripping into our waterways. We are using 50 percent more herbicides than we did 20 years ago, and the lawn care industry rakes in over $8.5 billion a year!
MY LAWN? You might say, puzzled. Won’t the neighbours or the hooligans eat anything I try to grow? Helping themselves to my prized tomatoes while I sleep the night away? “No,” say most urban homesteaders. Most people are respectful, even in awe of what you are trying to accomplish. It will probably get you to know your neighbours a bit better. And if anything, they usually only help themselves to a couple of those heirloom tomatoes you might have.
Besides, who wants to spend the average 40 hours a year mowing our lawns? That’s a full work week breathing in the fumes of your gas-powered mower that is polluting the same amount as 11 cars!
Give us a garden any day! UPDATE! We’ve got land!
-Magdalena Devi (Magdalena@YoungTree.org)
(And by that, we mean literally! Young Tree is currently looking for land opportunities for our sustainability project to grow on. Please check out www.youngtree.org/whatweneed , contact us, or email Chadd@YoungTree.org)