Thursday, February 26, 2015

Turning Yards into Gardens & Neighborhoods into Communities by Food Not Lawns & Heather Jo Flores

Bring the author & founder of Food Not Lawns to your town to teach workshops, plant gardens & build community.

Lawns are the Worst!

Americans spend over $30 billion every year to maintain over 40 million acres of lawn. Yet over 40 million people live below the poverty level. Even if only ⅓ of every lawn was converted to a food-producing garden, we could eliminate hunger in this country.

Lawns use more equipment, labor, fuel, and agricultural chemicals than industrial farming, making lawns the largest (and most toxic) agricultural sector in the United States. Lawnmowers burn more fuel every year than all industrial oils spills of the last twenty years, combined. Growing Food Not Lawns is a beautiful, responsible and empowering step towards finding real solutions to the major problems we face as a global society.

Grow Food, Not Lawns!

When the original chapter of Food Not Lawns started in 1999, in a tiny space behind a park in Eugene, Oregon, our vision was to share seeds and plants with our neighborhood, to promote local awareness about food security, and to learn about permaculture, sustainability and organic gardening.

Our project blossomed. We received a Neighborhood Improvement Grant from the City of Eugene, and conducted a low-cost permaculture design course for the neighborhood. We transformed most of the neighborhood lawns into lush organic gardens. We hosted annual seed swaps. Soon, we started to get mail from people around the country who were starting up local Food Not Lawns chapters of their own, and a movement had been born.

In 2006, co-founder Heather Flores published Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community (Chelsea Green.) The first half of the book is about gardening in the city, with no budget and on shared land. The second half is about working with people to build community around shared food and resources.

The book sold over 25,000 copies, and now there are more than 50 affiliated Food Not Lawns groups in the United States, Canada, and the U.K.. The original Food Not Lawns collective just hosted its 16th annual seed swap, and the meme, "Food Not Lawns," has taken root in the mainstreamconsciousness.

We need your Support!

Stickers, T-shirts and Yard Signs help spread the message

This campaign is a tool to raise funds for outreach and education, and every donation comes with a Reward that helps everyone.

Starter kits help you establish and expand your local Food Not Lawns project.

Website sponsorships connect people to your work (we place your logo on our website) and support the expansion of the long-standing website,, into a user-generated network for sharing skills, knowledge, photos, events and other resources.

Consultations with Heather Flores help you get creative with your garden design and/or community project.

"50 ways to Grow Food Not Lawns," a new audio handbook from Heather Flores, gives a fun overview of urban permaculture and lawn-transformation techniques.

Workshops in your community will help jump-start new gardens and strengthen local networks by bringing people together to share seeds, resources, tools and knowledge about permaculture, sustainability and organic food.

Food Not Lawns Workshop Tour

This is the main focus of this campaign, and if funding is successful, Heather Jo Flores will travel all over, teaching workshops and helping people turn lawns into gardens and neighborhoods into communities. Please note that all events on this tour will be booked through this Kickstarter campaign, as premium rewards. If you want your town to be on the tour, pledge $500 or more. You can sponsor the event yourself, collaborate with a local nonprofit or university, or sell advance tickets to workshop participants. Funding deadline is March 21 and at that time tour schedule will be confirmed and announced.

Hosting Heather Jo Flores in your community means so much more than just hearing her talk. Heather literally wrote the book on Food Not Lawns, and as one of the founding members, she has had her thumb on the pulse of this movement since the beginning. She emphasizes friendship-based learning, and her events always incorporate a heavy dose of community interaction and team-building play. Specific curriculum will be tailored to meet the needs of your community.To learn more about workshop details, visit

It's Not Just About Gardening!

Food not Lawns is not just about gardening. It's not just about food. And it is certainly not just about social media. We are about building neighborhood-based, friendship-driven communities, on the ground, in person, and for real.

FNL has always maintained a very simple approachWe help each other turn yards into gardens;

We host events to share seeds, plants, skills, tools, land and information;

And we educate and advocate for communities that want to take back control of their food from the corporate profiteers.

These actions, when combined, build empowered local networks, and help foster a strong sense of community-wide security, stability and sustainability.

Remember, if we don't reach our goal of $10,000 by March 21, we don't get any of the funding!

This means no tour, no t-shirts and no audiobook! We really want to share all of this with you, so please help us make it happen.

We Love you! See You Soon! More







Friday, February 20, 2015

Climate change may dramatically reduce wheat production, study shows

Vara Prasad, professor of crop ecophysiology and director of the USAID Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab at Kansas State University, is part of a collaborative team that found wheat yields are projected to decrease by 6 percent for each degree Celsius the temperature rises if no measures to adapt to extreme weather fluctuations are taken.

Based on the 2012-2013 wheat harvest of 701 million tons worldwide, the resulting temperature increase would result in 42 million tons less produced wheat — or a loss of nearly one-quarter of the current wheat production.

“It’s pretty severe,” Prasad said. “The projected effect of climate change on wheat is more than what has been forecast. That’s challenging because the world will have to at least double our food supply in the next 30 years if we’re going to feed 9.6 billion people.”

Prasad and colleagues published their study, “Rising temperatures reduce global wheat production,” in a recent issue of the scientific journal Nature Climate Change. The study was supported through the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Wheat Alliance, two organizations seeking ways to increase wheat yield.

For the study, researchers systematically tested 30 wheat crop models against field experiments from around the world that were conducted in areas where the average temperature of the growing season ranged from 15 to 32 degrees Celsius. The models accounted for planting dates, planting rates, temperatures and other crop management factors.

With the models, researchers were able to look at the effects of temperature stresses on wheat and predict future changes based on temperature changes.

Researchers found that the effects from climate change and its increasing temperatures on wheat will be more severe than once projected and are happening sooner than expected. While Prasad said increases in the average temperature are problematic, a bigger challenge is the extreme temperatures that are resulting from climate change.

“Extreme temperature doesn’t only mean heat; it also means cold,” Prasad said. “Simply looking at the average temperature doesn’t really show us anything because it’s the extremities that are more detrimental to crops. Plants can handle gradual changes because they have time to adapt, but an extreme heat wave or cold snap can kill a plant because that adjustment period is often nonexistent.”

Researchers also found that increasing temperatures are shortening the time frame that wheat plants have to mature and produce full heads for harvest, resulting in less grain produced from each plant.

“It’s like having one minute to fill a tall glass with water. Under optimal conditions, we can fill that glass pretty well,” Prasad said. “But now we’re factoring in extreme temperatures that are affecting the growing window and the grain size. So it becomes like trying to fill that same glass, but now we only have 40 seconds to do it and the faucet is running slower.”

Currently, Prasad and colleagues at Kansas State University, in collaboration with the university’s Wheat Genetics Resource Center, are using growth chambers and heats tents to quantify the effects of temperature. The data will help in refining the crop models so that they can be more accurate in predicting wheat responses.

Their work will help scientists develop more robust models that can help farmers globally select more weather-tolerant and resilient wheat varieties based on their location. Additionally, farmers can determine the optimal planting date to avoid stress and minimize possible exposure to extreme weather events, such as heat and cold snaps, during the growing season. More