Sunday, July 30, 2017

Food Not Lawns Community Garden Grant Program! Through Patreon!

Exciting! We're reactivating our social media network and moving this blog over to Patreon!

Food Not Lawns started in 1999 in Eugene Oregon when a small group of community-minded gardeners began sharing seeds, tools, plants, resources and information all around their neighborhood. We conducted a permaculture design certification course for people who lived within a mile of each other and transformed our neighborhood into a thriving, regenerative community. In 2006 co-founder Heather Jo Flores released her book, Food Not Lawns, how to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community, and for the next ten years, she traveled all over the USA, turning yards into gardens and bringing people together to visualize a better future.

With the advent of the internet, our International network has continued to grow, and now that we have Patreon, we finally have a steady foundation to raise funds for the ongoing practical, logistical, and hands-on support of our network of local chapters. Every dollar counts towards real gardens in real neighborhoods, and we would much rather raise funds through direct support than through selling products and/or allowing Google and other corporations to advertise on our website.

We're still crafting this new approach to harnessing and sharing resources, but turning surplus into abundance is what we have always done! Ihis is a successful venture, we will be able to offer not only small community grants for garden projects! How cool is that?

Come find us on Patreon!! Once we reach our first 1000 subscribers on Patreon, we will start offering small grants to community gardening groups, on a rolling basis. Successful proposals will include turning lawns into gardens, saving seeds, and organizing educational opportunities for your neighborhood. Anybody who is affiliated with a local chapter is welcome to apply.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Garden Profile: Brittany & Daniel Shultz in Knoxville, Tennesee's Apartment garden project

Brittany and Daniel Live in an apartment with no yard. They wanted to grow food anyway. Brittany writes:
Bike powered gardening!

Our amazing property management team allowed my husband and I to start a community garden on the common lawn. We have so far recruited 6 beautiful families and chatted with many lookie loos. We've made some great new friends, just last night one of the members cooked us traditional nepalese food in our kitchen! And the garden continues to pay forward. My mom, who has never grown food outside of tomatoes in a pot, is allowing me to take a third of her half acre and create space for all of the seedlings that we will thin as they pop up and all of the extra starts that need a home.
We started planting this week, and are one bed away from filling our spot. We've tried to be a diverse as we can and companion plant for better soil and pest control. We spent 2 weeks working the hard clay/rock mixture with sand and gave the water a path for drainage under the fresh top soil. This morning as I watered I could hear the water trickle down the slope and under the fresh soil in the beds.

Day 1: Excited husband!

Encouraging neighbors
Baby plants in the ground
Playing in the dirt!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

2015 First Annual Food Not Lawns Edible Nation Tour

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Heather Flores, author & founder of Food not Lawns will tour across the USA, giving workshops, planting gardens and building community.



  • June 23-24 New chapter launch: seed swap, roadshow and neighborhood design workshop in Lawrence, KS
  • June 25-28 Food Foresting with  Food Not Lawns Kansas City
  • July 2-5  Roadshow, Lawn Liberation & Neighborhood Design Workshop with Fort Wayne Food Lawns
  • July 24-25 New chapter launch: Seed swap, roadshow, neighborhood design workshop and lawn liberation in Clarkston, MI 
  • July 26 New chapter launch: Lawn Liberation & Roadshow in Detroit, MI 

Southeast and Southwest Tour in Spring of 2016

To book an event, contact us.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why I Hate Grass, or 'How to Kick Monsanto in the Balls. Article by guest blogger Steve Bivans

I hate grass.

Well, that's not really truthful.

It's not that I hate the plant–or I reckon it's plantS, since there are thousands of varieties of grasses–I actually love walking barefoot through cool, shady, dry grass in the summertime. No, mostly I just hate mowing. Why? Because I'm lazy. No, that's not true either. I just think mowing the lawn is a waste of time and energy. I'd much rather be sitting in my Adirondack chair drinking a pina colada, a beer, and reading a book than pushing some damned mower around the yard. So I rip up grass whenever I can find an excuse to do so. And now, since reading Ms. Flores' book, I do it with a real sense of purpose! It's not just to serve my inherent laziness but to feed the world! or at least to feed myself, which is pretty damned important, plus, I love 'maters. That would be TO-maters. I f'n love 'em.

But it's not just to feed myself, or the world that I consent to bend over and rip up my lawn. To get me to bend at all–I'm of the un-bendy sort, not a yoga master like Ms. Flores–you have to have some pretty compelling reason or mission. Feeding the world sounds pretty compelling, but in reality the world isn't lacking food. That sounds funny to say, since we all know there are people "starving in China"–as my parents always told us growing up. That was in the 70s, about the time that the U.S. government decided that farmers should "get big, or get out" and ramp up food production to "feed the world." Of course, the location of the starving children seems to have drifted over the decades since then, from China to Bangladesh–where ever the hell that is–to Ethiopia (where they apparently don't know when Christmas is, even though most of them are, you know, Christians), to Somalia, where most of them are not. It seems that no matter how much food we produce, children of all religions are still starving. Why is that?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gardener Profile: The Venturelli Family Front Yard

As shared by Raven Venturelli from Los Angeles:

In 2008 my mom, Jodie, heard a radio interview with Heather Jo Flores on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles / 98.7 FM Santa Barbara. My mom promptly bought Heather's book, enlisted my father, Angelo, to build two large compost piles in the back yard, and signed the whole family up for Larry Santoyo's Permaculture Design Course in LA. 

In early April of 2009, we hosted Larry's "Swan Song for the Lawn" workshop and converted the front yard to an organic edible paradise in one day! On average, we used slightly less water than we did on the lawn, but we obviously got so much more! The garden will be 6 years old come spring, and it continues to give on so many levels - the lessons, community, wisdom, insight and FOOD truly are priceless! The garden is constantly evolving and so are we!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Garden Profile: Ashleigh Ferguson Schieszer of Cincinnatti

Ashleigh writes:

Unsure of what to do with a tiny weed-ridden front yard, we tilled the dirt, lugged home some brick and rock, and turned the sunny spot into a raised veggie garden with stepping stones.

Here is a photo-journal of her amazing alley-to-garden transformation!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cleveland Food Not Lawns: Mari Keating's Yard Transformation

Mari Keating had a fabulous garden in the back yard, but her front lawn looked like any other. She writes:

My permaculture design course included small group design charette.  When it came time to discuss my own yard, I was struck by a glaring truth.  All of my principles and beliefs were expressed in the backyard via rain barrels, compost bins, laundry lines and integrated beds of organically grown vegetables, herbs and flowers, while the front yard was the green square of conformity, a typical suburban lawn!  How on earth could I find community in my neighborhood when I didn't make who I was and what I believed in visible to the street?  My permaculture training enhanced what I had already been doing for many years, but Food Not Lawns provided the missing activism piece that encouraged me to be public and provoking.  I did my training in September of 2010 and had the first Food Not Lawns,Cleveland seed swap in January of 2011, and hosted a sheet mulch demonstration on my own yard in March!  The response has never been anything but positive and the rewards immeasurable on so many levels.

Here's a link to an article featuring Cleveland Food Not Lawns

And here's their Facebook page:

and the pictures!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Garden Profile: Leah Willis' lawn conversion

Leah writes:
We converted the front lawn of our Cleveland Heights, Ohio home in May of 2014. We did a sheet mulch workshop and several ladies came to learn and lend a hand. It was slow growing at first, but by July it was amazing. By far the most successful garden we have ever had. I so enjoyed having neighbors admire and pick cherry tomatoes as they walked by.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Garden Profile: Shawna Coronado's Front Yard Paradise

Now here's an example of how front yard food gardening can be even more beautiful than any ornamental landscape! Shawna writes about how she did it on her blog. Check it out! Inspiring!

Shawna's Food & Garden Blog

Garden profile: Ryan Harb's Lawn Conversion Project

I put out a call for before and after pictures of Lawn Conversions. Ryan Harb of Massachusetts writes:

Here's my front lawn permaculture garden / graduate thesis project. I was able to convince my university to do this on the UMass Amherst campus as a job after they saw it worked at my home!




Want to learn more about Ryan?

Ryan Harb, MS, LEED AP
Founder, Beyond Sustainability Consulting
Follow @RyanHarb
Facebook: @Ryan Harb