Earthwise suggests growing food, not grass

Spring is on its way, and with it another season of mowing the lawn. If you were thinking of something different this spring, Earthwise might have the answer you are looking for. The society's newest project, Don't Mow, Grow!, turns lawns into beautiful and productive food gardens.

"Lawns are the single largest agricultural sector in the country. There's really nothing good that lawns are doing for the environment," says Heather Flores, founder of Food Not Lawns, an Oregon-based enterprise that specializes in converting lawns to food gardens. Don't Mow, Grow is based on a concept called SPIN farming, an innovative and highly successful model for urban agriculture that makes it possible for almost anyone to be part of sustainable food production.

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In SPIN farming, instead of cultivating large farms, food is grown on a number of smaller, individual plots, making unused land in urban areas more productive. Added together the small plots in a spin farm might only total about one acre, but by using organic and highly productive growing methods, productivity can be as high as much larger conventional plots.

Earthwise Society is putting its experience with small-scale organic farming to a new purpose by partnering with residents to help them grow food. Earthwise is interested in talking to individuals who would like to see their lawn turned into food.

There is no minimum plot size, but gardens must be primarily sunny and have been free of any chemical maintenance for at least three years.

The garden plots will be planted, maintained and harvested by Earthwise Society's experienced farmers, and proceeds from sales will help fund the society's charitable programs. Participating residents will have a number of options for how they would like to be involved.

Isabelle Rodé, Earthwise's organic grower, is excited about the new project.

"Don't Mow, Grow allows us to involve more people in growing food by bringing food gardens closer to home," says Rodé.

If you've got a lawn area that you'd like to turn to food, contact Earthwise at farm@earthwisesociety.bc.ca or at 604-946-9828.

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