Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Food Not Lawns: A Review

I just finished reading Food Not Lawns by HC Flores, one of the books on my summer reading list. This book was interesting, but not quite what I had expected.
The author is a permaculturist by trade, and since I am very interested in permaculture, I thought this book would be a perfect fit for me. While Flores does talk quite a bit about gardening, with a focus on permaculture ideals (like building soil, choosing the right plants, forming ecological niches, etc.), the book is actually more of an activists guide. It has many chapters on how to start your own community groups, get people involved and share knowledge; all wonderful endeavors, but I wish I would have read this book when I was 20 and single rather than at 32 when I am busy trying to raise a child and hold down a job. These chapters were of the least interest to me, and although they presented some great ideas, they were not of immediate importance to me. Hopefully as my life frees up a bit, I will have more energy to put into activism and community organization, and can turn back to this book for some ideas.
The gardening section of this book is great for general knowledge. However if you are trying to learn the nitty-gritty of permaculture or gardening, she doesn't get into a lot of detail about most topics. It is more of an introduction, which encourages you to find more information on topics that interest you.
This book does have some great tips in general on how to live more sustainably and lower your impact on the earth. A few of her ideas I just think are completely kooky (like giving up your alarm clock and either waking up whenever you feel like it or getting a rooster to wake you up... OK, great if you have absolutely zero responsibilities in life, or if you want your neighbors to murder you when that rooster crows at 6am). I think I will keep my alarm clock, thanks, but do like her encouragements for getting rid of your lawn and replacing it with a garden, bike-riding, seed-saving, guerilla gardening, and reducing our consumption.
It took me awhile to get through this book. It was full of good information (most of it not new to me, as I am an environmental science teacher in my not-so-spare time), and is well-written. However, the whole "manual" format was not really what I have been in a mood to read during these summer weeks. Worth a read for anyone wanting to start a group in your community or start activist work, or anyone just getting a garden going for the first time. Flores also includes some great information about social (in)justice. Pin It Now!


  1. I live in an HOA so the idea of converting my lawn into food is not realistic.
    I like the idea of activism but am not drawn to the the whole manual style of esentially preaching- Ultimatly education of the pros and cons seems sufficient for the audience of readers that would ultimatly pick this book up in the first place.