More Food, Less Lawns: The Future of Micro-Farming is You

What is a lawn for? What do you do with a lawn? Is it really something for the kids? Lawns and kids don't mix, kids will do unto lawns what kids will do, there is no rhyme and reason why they are digging grenade sized divots out of it with a headless Barbie doll. More of the lawn ends up on them than on the ground. The rest of it ends up on your carpets, ceilings and in one case, the stew. Lawns are great places to get a suntan and relax. By the same reasoning, so are deserts, no one for miles and you're guaranteed to get brown sometime between being thirsty and the first mirage of Paddington Bear. Lawns need a good hard stare if we are to keep them. Lie down on them, and think this through, but in no time your neck, arms and elbows will start to tingle and you'll have a rash from wherever bar skill has touched the green, green grass. Let's have a reality check, most lawns aren't green and if you have a dog you'd think twice before lying on it. So you put a rug down to protect your elbows, your arse and your dignity and all you get is hot and sweaty. Lawns are good for one thing, and one thing only, mowing. This utterly pointless exercise makes us all act like Sisyphus through the growing season, and no one willingly ever pushed a boulder up the side of a hill for all eternity, except some gardeners. Gardeners who talk about lawns in terms of cuts, rolling, stripes and the hatred of worms. Lawn mad gardeners hate worms, and their awful, awful way of created wormcasts on their pristine little peace of Heaven. If Heaven is a striped lawn, it will certainly have a sign somewhere saying: KEEP OFF - NO BALL GAMES. Lawns are not Heaven, they have their own circle of Hell reserved for them where gardeners are whipped for all eternity by giant worms with a grudge to bear. Grass is here for animals to eat, cows, sheep, rabbits, the occasional escaped hamster. It has a purpose on a hill farm, on a lowland farm, it can be made into feed but your grass at home when added to a compost heap often becomes a green sludge (not enough browns in your mix), foul and fetid and full of flies. 
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The best kind of lawn is a lawn that is productive. The future of growing is waiting outside your back door. The birth of the small farm and micro-farming is gathering pace, like expectant parents we are waiting to see what impact it will have on us. We don't realise that it already is having an impact, the vertical garden has been with us for sometime, used in everything from mushrooms to salads on an industrial scale, hydroponics has been with us for decades providing everything from fish to onions and the sewage farm can still belt out some great tomatoes as long as you don't think about what it was grown in. We may not all have a big garden but we all have external walls to our homes, the simple use of troughs, guttters, hanging baskets and windowboxes means we can get in on micro-farming, you can even indulge yourself and buy a toy tractor, don some wellies, a flat cap and mutter about people on your land. It passes a Sunday quite pleasantly. We can all do our bit, from the windowsill to the garden plot, to the allotment, to the stately home, the office block, the public space, we can all do our bit to cut the miles our food travels. This isn't rocket science, it's just food. Finally, you can't eat a lawn. Now, stop that long hard stare at your lawn and dig it up.


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