Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Farming in the Suburbs

This is the wave of the future...

The way we Americans eat is not sustainable. Our food travels over 1,000 miles on average between the field and the table. In the current industrial-farming paradigm, it takes about 1.5 acres of agricultural land to support each man, woman, and child in the US. The problem is, we are losing agricultural land at too rapid a rate due to urban sprawl and soil erosion and depletion. We are near the cross-over point. [A prediction: in a few hundred years, historians will be astounded at this generation's stupidity in destroying the land that sustains life ...just you wait and see!]

So yeah, dig up your water-wasting, chemical-hungry lawn and plant some food. That's what I'm doing...

14 comments:

Greg Knowles said...

This weekend I'm getting the garden going. Thanks for the motivation Mr. Fanelli

Anonymous said...

Too many skunks and rodents (rats, mice) here to do that (would be some nasty fertilizer). Plus my grapefruit and orange "shrubs" are barely hanging in. Glad it's only a few block to Lazy Acres ;-)

John

jen said...

LOL, well, I don't think the landlord would be too stoked if I tore up the lawn and started growing veggies. But it would be fun!

I think I'm going to try some potted tomatoes, though. Wish me luck, I'm a clueless noob at such things :-P

meh-wee-uhn said...

Hoooooray! Manicured lawns have always flabergasted me as I never see people using them and they're such an epic waste of water, etc., etc.

Marco Fanelli said...

Greg- You're welcome!

John- Oh come on... You're not going to give in to a few rodents, are you?! But Lazy Acres is good too...

Jen- Make a deal with your landlord: you tear up the lawn to plant crops, then you share your bounty with him/her. (And John pulls all the weeds and bugs...)

meh.wee.uhn- Right on! Private lawns are an anachronism from the 50's and the Leave-it-to-Beaver world. They belong in schools and parks and other public areas, not in front of every house on the block. What gives a homeowner the right to put nasty chemicals all over their lawn which then run off into our local water system?

blue squirrel said...

i am completely jealous, i did by the way adopt my buildings plants and have been relandscaping with drought tolerant native species. i grow my veggies in pots in the courtyard along with cooking herbs. glen beck has been doing a series of stories on the use of food stuffs [wheat, corn, etc.] being in short supply do to the high cost and crops being used for biofuels instead of food. look for your food prices to sky rocket soon and even costco is limiting the amount of rice you can buy at some locations. we are actually importing wheat for the first time, scary, especially since my family has been framing wheat in kansas for generations [we still have the farm]. a small fact about biofuels made from grains [not sugarcane], what it takes to make one full tank of fuel for a standard SUV, could feed the average man [not us] for a year. it seems that simple greed has now taken over parts of the sustainable fuel idea. hum, maybe we should think things through before rushing into doing good. just today they [sorry, actually scientists] are saying that the temperature has drop 4C the past 2 winters and that we may actually be cooling instead of heating up. personally i think we should focus on actually problems we have today, like air quality, losing wetlands in california, etc, instead of something that may or may not happen. oops, wow this was a long comment, sorry.

Kk said...

Awesome Marco! I have some terraces in my new place (see blog) that I'm planning to plant. Can't wait for fresh tomatoes! Enjoy your crops.

anony-miss said...

lawns are fun to run around and play on as a kid. I'd want a space my kids could play in at home, instead of them staying indoors all day. It's not much fun running through a tomato patch. It's squishy.
Urban areas often have patches of land outside the city that residents can rent and plant what they want on. (Er, legal stuff only of course.)

TnA said...

I agree with the squirrel...ethanol (from corn, or other grains) as a fuel is one of the biggest farces foisted upon the American public.

The farmers sure like it though...

TnA said...

Hehe...with all the dirt and everything, that guy's front yard looks just like mine, huh?

There won't be any "farming" going on in my front yard, though. There's not going to be a lawn either. In fact, I just gave away my lawn mower :-) The plan is to fill the front yard with "neglect tolerant"...er, I mean "drought tolerant" landscaping. Just gotta wait until the roof gets replaced (AGAIN!) before we start moving dirt around.

So...I gotta ask, why are some of the plants in raised beds and others not? (Very nice redwood planters you've built BTW).

Steve said...

MARCO,

I'm going to be in your neck of the woods in 3 weeks visiting GARY (6/16-6/29). Hopefully I can get to meet you and talk a bit about gardening. I have been doing small gardens but our Ct. growing season is so SHORT!

PS : I'm bringing along the Old S-works ( Gary's old bike) and plan to ride the days were local. So hopefully I can do a ride with you. Just go easy on me..

( Steve ) GARYS DAD

Steve said...

MARCO,

I'm going to be in your neck of the woods in 3 weeks visiting GARY (6/16-6/29). Hopefully I can get to meet you and talk a bit about gardening. I have been doing small gardens but our Ct. growing season is so SHORT!

PS : I'm bringing along the Old S-works ( Gary's old bike) and plan to ride the days were local. So hopefully I can do a ride with you. Just go easy on me..

( Steve ) GARYS DAD

Anonymous said...

I could see the JERKERS doing something like this in thier front yard - Laura and Jacob wouldn't ever be shy.

Marco Fanelli said...

Just a couple more thoughts... lots of food plants are also very attractive: artichokes, asparagus, some varieties of blueberries, colorful lettuces, herbs, and more. A nice set of planters and/or raised beds with vegetables could look every bit as nice as purely ornamental plants. And you can defeat a lot of bug issues by colocating flowers that repel pests or attract predator bugs. It really works... just last weekend as we drove through Salinas we saw fields with rows of colorful lettuce interspersed with rows of sweet allysum flowers.