LAWNS TO FOOD

For those of you who do not live here in the Shenandoah Valley, I apologize for what might seem like a localized post, but it's really not.  The context is that normally in August, we're extremely dry; the grass is brown and crinkly under foot.

But we've had lots of rain recently so the heat and moisture have combined to create an aggressive late season grass growing bonanza.  As I've been out and about recently, I've been struck by the amount of grass people mow.  Of course, the reason I've been out and about is to set up a new property to graze the grass and of course moving our different herds on these properties. 

My time is obsessed with how to move the appropriate cows around on the different properties to utilize this flush of forage, to not mow it mechanically with petroleum, but mow it with herbivores, the ultimate solar-powered pruner.  When I see the acreages mowed for lawns--many literally acres--I'm struck by how much underutilized opportunity exists.

America has 65 million acres of lawns.  Nothing pleases Monsanto more than to hear people voice concerns about overpopulation and running out of food.  When people fear, they swallow anything for security--chemicals, genetically modified organisms, nanotechnology, etc.  As long as people embrace and repeat the running out of food theme, the industrial agri-complex is there with a life saving rope.  It's a hangman's noose if you look closely, but nobody looks closely because they're too busy grasping it for security.

Just imagine if all lawns were turned into gardens?  All ornamental trees turned into fruit and nut bearing specimens?  And hedges turned into grape vines and thornless black berries?  The truth is that except for dairy and meat, every urban area could feed itself from its own local greesnpaces.  A couple of exceptions exist, like New York City and Los Angeles; perhaps Chicago.  But they are rare.  And even they could make a big dent.

Folks, we are not running out of food.  We are running out of stewardship.

Do you garden?