Tear up your lawn and plant some food!
“A quiet revolution is taking place across the country centered on small plots in urban and suburban areas where food is being produced, jobs grown, and real community developed.” Michael Ableman
Victory gardens were food gardens planted during WWI and WWII that helped people contribute to the cause by growing their own food. Many families tore out their lawns and flower gardens to plant vegetables and fruits. Vacant land, city parks, and even the White House lawn was transformed into lush gardens that produced 41 % of vegetables and fruits consumed by the nation, during that time. It was a splendid movement. People ate better for less and boosted the nation’s moral.
When WWII ended, the US Government encouraged everyone to re-plant their lawns because the enormous amount of food produced by the victory gardens was going to seriously compromise the growth of industrial agriculture. The people, being into group effort at the time, agreed. Time went by and many of us forgot we could grow our own food and some of the younger generations, never knew they could.
Little do many people know, but our innocent looking lawns are costing America more than they can imagine. It is estimated that lawns and golf courses in the United States consume around 270 billion gallons of water a week in the summer. That is enough water to grow 81 million acres of organic vegetables, all summer long. On top of that, 58 million Americans spend approximately 30 billion dollars a year to maintain their lawns. That’s a lot of carrots!
Fortunately the movement to grow our own local food, that hasn’t travels thousands of miles, has inspired the nation to tear up its lawns again and plant them with food. Even the White House has followed suit again, installing organic vegetable plots and edible landscaping.
Anyone can do it. All you need is a small bit of land or a deck, and you can grow your own veggies. Start simple with the crops that are foolproof like herbs, salad greens, kale, radishes and carrots. Cherry tomatoes are the best tomato to try here at the coast.
On top of the obvious health benefits of having our own garden, you will be amazed at how much money you can save. One family actually figured out that they saved $2196.50 one year from turning their lawn into a garden. They spent about $300 in start up, so they got a 750% return on their investment. Try doing that in the stock market!
If you do not want to start your own garden you can join a community garden or help a friend with their garden. No one ever turns down help in the garden and it is a great way to learn!
The community garden at Lower Nehalem Land Trust is full this year but would love to show you how they do things. (503-368- 3203) We also lucky to have a great gardening store in town, “Taylor’s” in Nehalem. (503-368-3999) They have anything you will need for your garden, whether its tools or guidance.
Some good books to read on this subject are, “Food not Lawns” by HC Flores, “Fresh Foods from Small Spaces” by RJ Ruppenthal, or “Gaia’s Garden.” By Toby Hemenway. So get out there and tear up some lawn and grow some food!
Baby Carrots in Lime Ginger Butter
This recipe highlights tender baby carrots, fresh out of the garden, tops and all. This dish is brilliant served with Easter dinner but is so easy that you can serve it any day. Make sure and use the real baby carrots, not the fake ones that have been whittled down to nubs.
3- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound of baby carrots, with tops, peeled
1 tablespoon of grass fed butter or coconut oil
1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon of grated lime zest
1 tablespoon of lime juice
¼ teaspoon of salt
Slice, all but 1 inch, of the carrot tops off the carrots. Give them to the goat. Get out your big steamer and steam the carrots, covered, for about 8 minutes or until they are just barely tender. When the carrots are finished in their sauna, prepare the butter. Heat up a largish skillet over medium high heat and add the butter, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, till it becomes very fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. When everything is well mixed, toss in the carrots and roll them around. Serve immediately and then go plant some more seeds.