OUR FRONT LAWN
Have a look, if you will. It's possible you simply can't avoid it, if you live anywhere within proximity to the lawn-carnage I've insisted upon my little community. Given the disaster of wood chips and sprigs of green and wonder, you might imagine I've lost my mind. I hope I have.
I've hired a Permaculturist to re-design my front lawn. They were additionally charged with the task of making certain I didn't wander too far off the path, as it were. There are a lot of paths in permaculture.
This is a self-sustaining ecosystem that includes the injection of mushroom spores in the exchange of "unwanted" natural by-products with those "wanted" by neighbouring plant life. Seriously???
Pear, Pea Shrub, Hardy Kiwi, Cherry, Haskap Berry, Chokeberry, Riverside Grape, Sand Cherry, Musk Mallow, Bell Flower, Red Orach, Holy Basil, Sea Kale, Strawberry, Raspberry, Hazelnut, Black Currant, Schisandra, Tree Kale, Oregano, Mint, Thyme, Basil, Sage, Chamomile, Fennel, Lavender, Calendula, Kohlrabi, Comfrey, Parsley, Cinnamon Yam, Primrose, Tomato, Arugula, Swiss Chard, Nasturtium, Zucchini, Watermelon, Cucumber, Carrots, Celery, Pea, Pumpkin, and oh how many I've missed???
All of them battened down by a Serviceberry hedge. A hedge not meant to keep a soul out, but to draw near pollinators and people alike, should any care to happen by for a snack. And if you do happen by any time soon, watch for a lovely framed legend on the Rogers Street side that matches the plant with the healthy-happy chemistry it creates... in our brains.
I'm not certain if it's being deaf as a toddler, being labelled a "gifted learner" (aka a daydreamer who missed the whole darned point but could spell like the Dickens), having a unicycle-riding Anglican Minister as a father, or an incessant disdain for those pulsating fluorescent classroom lights... but somehow, this quirky little garden is who I am.
This is my way of trying to understand how we can become so complacent about the food we eat in our own backyards - but draw arms against our neighbours, in theirs.
I haven't a clue what I'm doing. But have I ever?
Grow food. That makes some sense.
Who walks home from school at the age four in the dead of winter without permission just to watch Mr. Dressup, because they didn't happen to put that show on at 11am when my classmates were napping? Seemed reasonable enough to me.
I did have a very special mother who grew sprouts in our Yukon years to be sure our "greens" were possible all seasons. She also made yogurt to balance the body's digestion, which not once made its trade for those dreamy looking Joe Louis cakes.
But, grow FOOD on my front lawn??
I mean, who quits school in grade 5 telling the Principal, "I am simply too stupid to be in your school. No point wasting any more of my time, or yours." What was it I thought I had to be doing that was any more important than school? I couldn't tell you. But the facts remain.
Just thinking, maybe we should grow food... everywhere????
Somehow all that awkwardness and eccentricity made its way through those bucked teeth and hand-me-down years and I managed to blossom into this terribly awkward and eccentric person I am today. Yay! But I am especially me, in my garden.
Even though it's nothing but hope and those darned sprigs, I can imagine it alive, impossibly beautiful, and necessary. And I am proud.
Please consider your own backyard, your front yard, your balcony, or maybe your neighbour's balcony - but let's grow some food.
Start in a pot or a patch or drown the whole of your lot in compost and cardboard and sell your lawnmower. You want to talk carbon footprint? How much closer can you get?
Grow extra for friends and neighbours and shelters and shut-ins. Buy old Mason jars from garage sales and learn to preserve and make Christmas a homemade occasion. Take edible plants to sick friends and plant fruit trees in memory of those you've loved and lost. Plant pumpkins on top of toboggan runs and watch them spill down the hillside when you stop by for a visit, and a little drink.
There simply isn't much more decadent in this lifetime than a cherry tomato plucked and popped into your mouth, so hot you can barely stand it, but for the pleasure it ignites in your senses.
I didn't have a hope of staying put in those stiff desks with fake lighting when the sun was shining right outside my classroom window. Let's bring children to these gardens and fulfill exercise and education, all in a sunny afternoon.
And this is really "our" front lawn, because although this one accompanies a lovely historical building I bought some years ago to host my counselling practice, it is really just on loan to me for the brief time I inhabit this planet. In my way of thinking, we share whatever bricks and mortar, green space and waters we have been fortunate enough to meet.
Expect updates on rainy days or snowstorms, but I do hope to make it worthy of your visit.
This message is intended to help feed our children, nourish our bodies and souls, and bring our bees home.
Written by: Kim Sargent
Clinical Director of the Canadian Family Health Collective and Co-Founder of GrowHappy®