What Is the Grow Food Not Lawns Movement?

healthy wheat plants packed with edible kernels

With supply chain issues impacting many retail outlets, you may be encountering empty shelves and higher prices on your shopping visits.

There isn't much we can do when it comes to the impact it has on consumer products like cell phones or refrigerators, but there may be something we can do when it comes to our groceries.

How, you ask? Quite simply, we're talking about the international movement to grow Food Not Lawns. This movement has many people questioning the importance of keeping this very traditional feature as part of the home landscape.

If you've never considered swapping your lawn for a food garden, now may be the right time to entertain the thought. Need some convincing? Read on...

Free Organic Food

Think about what it takes to get your food from the grocery store. Unless you're riding a bike or going electric, you'll be contributing to those greenhouse gas emissions when you jump in your car or even ride the bus.

But even before you drive to the grocery store, there's still the process of getting that produce to your market in the first place. Yup. Your parsley, carrots, and bok choy hitched a ride on some sort of transport system, even if it came from a local farm.

And if you've opted to purchase fruits and vegetables out of season or else exotic to your locale, then you've also got to factor in their ride in an airplane or ship as part of the fuel consumption.

Converting your lawn to a food garden keeps it hyper-local, so the only transportation would be from yard to kitchen, then hand to mouth, reducing your carbon footprint.

garden of leeks growing in soil

You Don't Like Chemicals

Lawns are notoriously heavy feeders and require lots of chemicals and maintenance. Those pristine, verdant lawns in magazines hide some serious monstrous needs, like the pesticides and herbicides needed to keep it bug and weed-free. Or the chemical fertilizers to keep it lush and "healthy."

Granted, there are more eco-friendly ways to maintain an organic lawn, and if you're dedicated to keeping one, the eco-warriors of the world want to thank you. But keep reading anyway. Perhaps we can still convince you otherwise...

Attract the Pollinators

You've likely heard about the problems honeybees are having. And unless you have a lawn of dandelions and wildflowers, you're definitely not attracting these important insects to your yard. A food garden will help attract those much needed pollinators by creating a food source and also a desirable habitat.

If you're interested in helping our pollinating friends and the food garden isn't your thing, there are other alternatives to the traditional lawn you may want to consider.

Build a Community

people harvesting vegetables in community garden

Food Not Lawns is a social movement. Chapters have been formed worldwide, but even if you don't officially belong to one, it doesn't mean you can't be part of the community.

Gardeners have an affinity to sharing, and through various social media outlets, you have the ability to connect with those of a similar mindset to get support, share seeds, tips, and tricks, and spread the word of your newfound passion.

Much Cheaper Maintenance

Yes, we did, but it's worth mentioning again. There's a lot of gas involved in keeping that lawn looking immaculate.

True, you've got electric options, but if you have a gas-powered mower, you can keep your greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum by ditching the lawn (mower) and planting the food garden.

green lettuce growing in a vegetable garden

Waste Not...

You don't have to install a gray water system (unless you want to.) We're just referring to any excess water from household use that can be saved and used in the garden, such as the rinse water from vegetables (you know, the ones you just grew,) or while you're waiting for the hot water in the shower.

And since we're talking about saving water, if you don't have a rain barrel yet, add that to your list of projects for the year. Your local board of water supply or similar city agency may sell them at a discounted rate or else offer a rebate.

Or you could DIY your own rain barrel, which just elevates your level of eco-warriorism in our eyes.

We're all incorporating changes in our lives to accommodate the ways our world is evolving. Switching from the traditional lawnscape to a food based yard is just one way we can adapt to suit our changing needs.