Sustainability, ecological design, and permaculture are growing trends and Food Not Lawns is part of that trend. The author, Heather C. Flores, is an activist and urban gardener who advocates gardening in a way that reflects the natural ecology of the area. Gardening in this way, however, is only the beginning and Flores argues that it must be accompanied by sharing food, resources and ideas to involve the whole community. Flores believes that in this way we can increase the health of the whole world and move closer to attaining peace and sustainability.
The first half of the book presents Flores ideas on establishing and maintaining an ecologically responsible garden and urges the use of wasted resources. She discusses the issues surrounding water, soil, biodiversity, and seed stewardship showing how they are important to achieving the goal and offering suggestions for achieving ecological integrity. Flores’ ideas are brought together in her nine step design process that includes setting goals, proposing objectives, defining boundaries, assembling and assessing resources, analyzing to define weaknesses, developing a design plan, implementing it, monitoring it, and evaluating it.
The second half of the book extends to the home and community the ecological principles used to create the garden. It discusses such issues as the importance of consumer choices, spreading information and resources to the community, and involving children. An extensive list of resources concludes the work.
Food Not Lawns presents a strong case for adopting an ecological approach to gardening and living life in general. Many of Flores suggestions will not appeal to most people like giving up t.v., refrigerator, clocks, and mirrors, using gray water to irrigate the garden, or dumpster diving to obtain recyclable materials. Although many people might like to quit their job as Flores suggests, very few can actually do so. On the other hand, if you are concerned about the environment Flores has many suggestions that you may find very helpful and motivate you to adopt more and more environmentally responsible attitudes and actions. An interesting read and useful for those with an ecological bent.
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