Urban food gardens take
the place of green space
By Lisa Waterman-Gray
Healthy green Dinosaur Kale and Bright Lights Swiss Chard mix with peonies and irises, alongside deep red rhubarb and bushes bursting with fresh blueberries, in the heart of the city; while carrots and potatoes send leafy shoots toward the sun.
Urban gardens are increasingly taking on a different appearance. Vegetable gardens are popping up more frequently and even migrating to the front yard. More people who are concerned about the quality and source of their food are digging in the dirt, reviving old-fashioned pest-control methods, and reaping the satisfaction of plucking dinner ingredients from their yards.
Welcome to the Food Not Lawns movement. People are realizing that, if they want healthy food, they have to be responsible for it themselves. It typically takes about 10 calories of fossil fuel to produce one calorie of food in the grocery store, which is often shipped 1,000-1,500 miles to local stores.
Steve Mann, with Food Not Lawns Kansas City (part of Food Not Lawns International), says that traditional lawns are a huge resource problem, which must be addressed. “It’s a forest wanting to come into existence from the original ecosystem. We use fossil fuels, herbicides and pesticides on lawns because they’re not a stable system. Lawns are huge users of water, especially during the hot summer, and the chemicals are going into the water system and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.”
The organization wants to change unproductive lawns into productive gardens and be a resource for information on how to practice this work. “I’m seeing more and more people who don’t want lawns, especially among people in their 20s,” Mann says. “About half have knowledge about what it takes to have a successful garden. Education mostly takes place in our Communiversity classes, usually two times a year and we’ve had hundreds of people come through.”
OUR CHANGING BEHAVIOR
Interest in urban gardening is clearly on the rise. “I hear ‘organic’ over and over again and I think people are really trying to eat more organic fruit and vegetables,” says Erin Busenhart, a designer at Overland Park’s Family Tree Nursery. “You can decide exactly what you’re going to grow, what fertilizer you will use, and pick it exactly when it’s ready. The more success you have, you can start increasing your beds.
“People are becoming more aware of fresh produce, and they want to try more varieties.… Read More
Brimming with engaging stories, mouth-watering recipes and enticing photography, Edible Kansas City will celebrate the diverse foods and delicious cultures of the Greater Kansas City metro area. The quarterly magazine will be available at grocery stores, newsstands, farmers markets and restaurants in and around Kansas City.
“We are so excited to be able to provide a forum for the stories of our region’s rich food traditions and the people who are preserving and expanding upon those traditions today,” say Edible Kansas City Publishers Tracey Russell and Tamara Marler. “Folks love to eat good food, and, more and more, they want to know where that food comes from. Edible Kansas City will help foster that knowledge and build connections within our local food community.”
In the pages of Edible Kansas City, readers will meet local farmers, foragers, vintners, brewers and artisans; visit the kitchens of their favorite regional chefs, find updates on policies affecting local food production and discover new recipes for each season’s freshest ingredients.
Russell and Marler, gardening fanatics and food lovers, are passionate about the mission of promoting locally sourced food and flavors. The diversity of Kansas City and surrounding counties is what makes this region so wonderful and delicious!
Edible Kansas City is part of the growing and leading network of Edible Communities magazines.… Read More