Last year, I took a deep breath and ripped up my grassy sidewalk strip. Cover crop and a toad over-wintered there. Squash, beans, peppers, squirrels, and sunflowers summered there. And connections with neighbors, passersby, friends of friends, blossomed there.
Then I ditched the grass on half of the remaining lawn - devoting the patch to a butterfly garden, with a few peas, tomatoes and cucumbers tucked in for good measure. I was rewarded with more varieties of butterflies than I'd ever seen, bees galore, and even some lustful ladybugs. I was also rewarded with some admiring looks from joggers, thankful finches de-seeding my cosmos, and two little boys who can identify every type of flower out there.
This fall, the rest of my front lawn will go. According to Diane MacEachern of The Big Green Purse, "[w]ith some forty million acres of America carpeted in grass, turf is our largest irrigated crop . . . A staggering 60 percent of water consumed on the West Coast and 30 percent on the East Coast goes to watering lawns." (248). That doesn't even take into account the impact from gas powered mowing and blowing machines or pesticides and fertilizers used to maintain lawns. I've forsworn those but still put a half hearted effort into semi-watering and maintaining the last strip of monoculture left in my front yard.
But no more. I'm going back to the future. Back to the Victory Garden.
And the future is more delicious and bountiful than we imagined.
In a time of dwindling oil supplies and changing climates, of disappearing biodiversity and vanishing bees, it stands out like a beacon of hope, the bailout to industrial agriculture's harrowing debt and the cure for this month's salmonella outbreak.
Here are photos of an edible garden I've been admiring.No one said that a front yard veggie patch needs to look like a farm. It doesn't need to look like a typical suburban yard either. It can be different. It can be amazing. And it can speak louder to friends, neighbors and one's community than rallies, petitions or showings of The Inconvenient Truth. It can inspire and educate. It can connect and regenerate.
This month's APLS carnival topic is educating others. I can think of no better way to educate others than to do it in your front yard. Grab a shovel and start spreading the word.