Food Not Lawns

*** NOTICE OF CHANGES TO FOOD PROJECTS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC ***

As we face the COVID-19 pandemic as a community, our need for local food security becomes crystal clear. The more produce we can grow at home and in our own communities, the less we need to visit grocery stores, and the safer and more self-sufficient we can be. Many community members have found themselves with more free time on their hands, and with an increased curiosity and motivation to grow some of their own food.
In order to make growing fresh food accessible for as many people as possible during this challenging time, we're shifting our focus away from larger lawn conversions to smaller mini-gardens. This shift allows us to bring the joy of growing one's own food to a greater number of residents, and reduces the risk currently associated with larger gatherings (because our lawn conversions often involved up to 10 people working together at a time). Click here for more information about our mini-gardens, or to request a mini-garden.

While we are not currently able to provide the labor for lawn conversions, as we previously had, we still wish to support you in any way we can if you want to take the lead on your own lawn conversion. We can provide information and guidance by phone or email, and we may be able to provide some materials such as raised beds, soil, and plant starts, depending on our ongoing funding situation. If you're willing and able to do the physical work yourself but just lack access to materials, please email Tamara to discuss creative solutions.

Now back to front yard gardening...

Front lawns are as American as apple pie and baseball... but why? Are they serving our needs?

Our nation's obsession with perfectly manicured, weed-free front lawns is an exercise in conformity as well as a means of upholding appearance over substance, and continuing to keep regular people dependent on large corporations to meet their fundamental human need for sustenance and nutrition.

What if we could collectively re-think the purpose of our front yards? What alternative functions might they serve? By converting unused front lawns into beautiful, productive gardens, we can achieve so much -

  • Food for ourselves and our families,
  • Food and connection with our neighbors,
  • Emergency/disaster preperadness,
  • Habitat and food for birds, bees, and other wildlife,
  • Fewer (hopefully zero) harmful chemicals entering the soil and the air,
  • Fewer harmful emissions from motorized lawn care implements,
  • A wonderful way to connect with nature,
  • And so much more!

Food Forests Workshop - Post Capitalism Conference at HSU, April 2019

Food Not Lawns Workshop - Post Capitalism Conference at HSU, April 2019

Our Projects To Date:

Harrison Avenue, Eureka (Summer/Fall 2018)

It's amazing how much you can fit into a small front yard - in this 35' x 15' area, in addition to a variety of native and pollinator plants, the following edible plants are being grown: fig, apple, blueberries, strawberries, lettuce, kale (annual and perennial), collards, artichokes, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, gooseberry, huckleberry, goumi, raspberries, broccoli, parsley, thyme, and more!

H Street, Eureka (Winter 2018/2019)

This site was converted from unused turf and is now planted with blueberries, kiwis, grapes, lemons, fruit trees (plum, apple), and native pollinators/edibles. The homeowner was able to secure reimbursement for all out-of-pocket expenses through California's Turf Replacement rebate program.

Walnut Drive, Eureka (Summer 2019)

The homeowner at this property had an amazing head start on this project, and just needed our help finishing up. Her whole front and back yards are all gardens, and she grows a great variety of edible plants.

D Street, Eureka (Summer 2019)

With a supportive landlord, these renters were excited to convert part of their front yard into food production. With raised beds for annuals and perimeter beds for perennials, they can grow a good mix of food crops, medicinal plants, and pollinators.

Summer Street, Eureka (Summer 2019)

A sweet lawn conversion for a lovely family, with a nice mix of edibles, medicinals, and perennial pollinators, sited near a busy park as a bonus for the neighborhood.

18th Street, Eureka (Summer 2019)

An energetic crew whipped this large front yard into sheet mulched shape in one afternoon. The homeowners look forward to adding lots of natives and edibles in the upcoming months and years.

H Street, Eureka (Summer 2019)

Four raised beds were added to complement this couple's existing Little Free Pantry. Passers-by are encouraged to help themselves to veggies straight from the garden.

Beverly Drive (Fall 2019)

We're always happy to work with garden-loving renters, provided that their landlord is on board, as was the case with this project! Sheet mulching complete, with more raised beds to be added in 2020.