Public Policy, Local Farming and Climate Change

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This is a third ‘New Years’ series on public expenditures at regulations, especially at the local / municipal level.

For the other two, see my thoughts on:

This piece looks at the impact of municipal regulations concerning private land use with residential properties.

In short, we need to develop a national plan that encourages municipalities to enact legislation on a local level that will allow homeowners to convert their lawns to productive gardens and micro-crops.

Background

The lawn. The sprawling, radiating bright green lawn.

Image result for the perfect lawnMany people obsess about it and over the last century, it’s become a symbol of success and pride for many suburban dwellers.

They trim, cut, manicure and coddle their lawns like it’s their first-born, needy and wanting nutrition and endless attention. Weeds and pests are removed – manually, chemically, rapidly.

Entire industries – seed, sod, machines, landscaping businesses – exist because of the LAWN.

Spare me.

There are few things that are more wasteful and decadent than a well-nurtured lawn.

Thankfully, I’m not the only one that feels this way.

Sustainable Foodscaping

Like other articles (see above), change (especially with ‘traditional’ mindset) is needed as opposed to radical removal or withdrawal from a system.

I don’t want to put well-meaning landscapers out of business. I would love to see them manicure and help harvest the bounty that all of this real estate is capable of producing.

Sustainable Foodscaping is the active conversion of existing suburban lawns into productive food lands.

It makes sense. To build these houses and yards, we encouraged the willful destruction of some of the most productive soils that humanity has ever seen. We allow the outright clearcutting of forests, removal of ecosystems and habitats all so that we can play and wander in our perfectly trimmed three inch greenery.

Sustainable Foodscaping simply encourages homeowners to make better use of their property.

Foodscaping isn’t the answer to all of our problems, but it’s a way of changing our culture from one that’s all about consumption and convenience to one that’s patient and more aware of our surroundings. Foodscaping is food and gardening education from start to finish.

In order to make Sustainable Foodscaping a better reality, municipalities need to follow national directives that permit homeowners and landowners to modify the use of their property from inert, resource sucking football fields into productive and valuable food production not only for the homeowners, but also for markets, charities and regional suppliers.

Image result for sustainable foodscaping

If we don’t and the various ‘rebels’ do what they want to improve this planet, I’m sure we’ll have endless stories about cranky neighbours calling each other out and complaining to local authorities, with local authorities responding with heavy-handed penalties, fines and other embarrassing scenarios.

As mentioned, new markets should be encouraged rather than shut down and individuals should have the means and knowledge with how to save, store and preserve their output so that they can enjoy their efforts during the colder seasons of the year.

This is very possible and the impact will be profound:

  1. Reductions in the carbon footprint of consumers that produce their own food instead of seeking out the latest imported products
  2. Sharing resources and even tools that will make it easier for homeowners
  3. Creation of habitats for bees, birds, butterflies and other creatures
  4. Massive cost reduction with food budgets for individuals
  5. A shift from a meat-based protein diet to a healthier, greener plant-based diet

With all this said, we’re going to do our best this year to implement a new lawn regime that is ideal for our environment, not our neighbour’s eyes.

Resources

Sustainable “Foodscaping” in Geneva, Switzerland where communities have worked together, neighbours consult and plan what each will grow so they can share and trade food. Imagine if we all did Foodscaping?

What is Foodscaping? https://www.thedailymeal.com/foodscaping-fancy-word-gardeni…

Russian Family Gardens Produce 40% of Russian Food https://healthimpactnews.com/…/russian-family-gardens-prod…/

How to grow a 3 sisters garden (Traditional Native American approach): http://flusterbuster.com/2013/03/gardens-3-sisters.html

An In-Depth Companion Planting Guide (which seeds to plant together, also information on which plants will keep away certain animals and insects). https://www.motherearthnews.com/…/companion-planting-guide-…

Natural farming methods (a beginner’s guide): https://monterayfarm.com/…/natural-farming-methods-a-begin…/

List of companion plants: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants

Natural farming (Japanese ecological farming approach):https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_farming

Indigenous Three Sisters “Companion” Gardening Method https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi5IrIOAOnQ

Related: The Biggest Little Farm (2019) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daB6ync3Ytg

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