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Transform lawns into diverse, and productive community spaces

Photo credit: Food Tank

Food Not Lawns transforms lawns into diverse, beautiful, and productive community spaces.

Grow Food, Not Lawns!

Food Not Lawns, an international chapter-based organization, is encouraging people to question the necessity and value of lawns and to transform these grass monocultures into diverse, beautiful, and productive community spaces.

One study estimates that lawns cover 163,800 square kilometers (63,243.5 square miles), the equivalent of 40.5 million acres, of land in the United States. To put this statistic into perspective, this means that there is four times more lawn than corn grown in the U.S. Turf grass covers more land than corn, alfalfa, soybeans, orchards, vineyards, cotton, pastures, wheat, and hay combined, making it the most widely grown crop in the U.S.

In terms of land use alone, lawns consume a significant amount of resources. A well-maintained lawn requires irrigation, using more water than the seven most water-intensive crops combined, as well as agrochemicals. Some argue that these costs outweigh the benefits of maintaining lawns and that the land and resources dedicated to them could be put to better use.

Food Not Lawns advocates for the transformation of these resource-intensive lawns into diverse, attractive, multi-functional and productive gardens. FNL was founded in 1999 as an outgrowth of the activist network Food Not Bombs. Food Not Bombs has issued a strong critique of the modern food system, which they believe produces surplus, waste, and hunger simultaneously. A major aspect of Food Not Bombs’ work is to recapture this waste and use it to feed the hungry and to bring together communities. Similarly, FNL seeks to creatively transform the wasted spaces in neighborhoods and cities in order to feed people, while cultivating community solidarity and cooperation.

Read the full article: Food Tank

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.