Food is Free: A Grassroots (re)Movement


I fell in love with quality food. Fresh fruit and vegetables just taste so much better. It’s so much more vibrant and alive. There really isn’t any substitute for freshness! This love of food carried me toward my love of plants. Specifically plants that can produce food and improve the quality of the soil.
It’s for this reason that I have a real issue with the suburban lawn. The average front or back lawn produces no habitat, food, or any other usable resources aside from being a ground cover. It’s an utter misuse of space, time and resources.

People spend too much time on their lawns with little to no real reward. When you think about it, if you’re not trying to keep the weeds out, then you’re cutting or fertilizing it to maintain it. It’s bad for our environment.

As if that wasn’t reason enough, having large and meticulously well maintained lawns is derived from when houses were also estates. The grounds were extensive and were sometimes even opened to the public as walking parks. They were a display of wealth because it took a lot of (hired) work to maintain and you derived literally nothing from it. A way of physically saying “look how much land I have, and I don’t even need to use it to grow crops.”

Surprise, there’s a better way! We can naturalize our outdoor living spaces by using native vegetation as well as planting our own vegetable, fruit and herb gardens. If we work together within our communities we have the power to gain independence from our current failing agricultural systems.

The Food is Free project is a movement designed to empower and build up the community through gardening. The concept is that instead of a conventional front lawn, you opt to grow food bearing plants and then you give away your excess food to those who need it. Alternatively you can trade with others in your neighbourhood who are also growing their own food.

This may not seem like a big deal for some of you but it’s only taken about two generations for the majority of people to loose the ability to produce and preserve their own food. This means that for most communities, people are entirely dependant on the grocery store for the ability to eat.

This movement highlights that with practically the same amount of effort it takes to maintain a conventional lawn, we can be caring for food and community producing plants. Seems like a bit of a no brainer if you ask me, and that’s why I am challenging myself to bring this movement to my community this season and I hope that by writing about it I may inspire some of you to try and do the same.

If you’re interested in starting one yourself, all you need to do is plant your own garden in your front yard for your neighbourhood to enjoy and encourage your neighbours to do the same. Food is free, food is for everyone. Let’s work together to bring back our own food security. Lessen the burden on local food banks, donate extra produce to soup kitchens. Let’s work together to bring back our sense of community through a common love of food, let’s bring down suburban lawn culture!

More in Lifestyle: