Monday, January 5, 2009

Food Not Lawns by H.C. Flores

Food Not Lawns combines practical wisdom on edible garden design and community-building with a fresh perspective on an age-old subject. Activist and urban gardener Heather Flores shares her nine-step plan to help readers build fertile soil, raise their own food, promote biodiversity, and increase natural habitat in their own "paradise gardens," whether on a tiny city plot or a half acre of lawn. In Flores's vision, lawns give way to gardens and gardens lead to stronger, healthier neighborhoods. Food Not Lawns collects the skills, tips, and hands-on instruction needed to turn the vision into reality.

This joyful manual inspires readers to apply the principles of the paradise garden - simplicity, resourcefulness, creativity, mindfulness, and community - to all aspects of life. Begin with a few plants; find opportunities to grow in abandoned lots; create playful teaching gardens with neighborhood children; organize your new bounty into community meals. In Food Not Lawns, Flores shows us how to reconnect to the earth and to our communities one garden at a time.

This was certainly not a "joyful manual" by any means! First off, it was a very unwieldy book! Really, it was an oversized paperback that was a floppy pain to read. That really took away from the marginal enjoyment of reading this tome.

I immediately intensely disliked the author. From the drawing of a pregnant, barefoot hag on a bicycle on the front cover, to her whining about how she was "marginalized" for being half-Mexican - and, oh yeah, low income too. Yeah, I'm sure it was being half Mexican that was the problem, not the being low income. In any case, I'm really don't like her. And her bitchy, holier-than-thou militant activist attitude is simply virtually unbearable at times. I wonder how at times how I managed to slog through this monstrosity! She can be such a snotty little bitch!

This was way too political for me! It was actually more about the author's radical politics and conspiracy theories and activist propaganda than gardening. At one point she actually advocates ecological "training camps" which sound remarkably like other "training camps" abroad and that seem to be breeding grounds for domestic terrorists!

That said, this one gets six stars. It was just okay. Certainly not spectacular and nothing I would ever recommend. Let me just say that I'm glad this was a library book and nothing I paid money for. The one star that rescues it from five stars comes from the sections on soil building and seed saving.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆


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