Growing citizens

Story: So I was driving home from getting new bike tires (every 26 years, whether I need them or not!) (note: I needed them), when I passed this stunning front yard food garden. I turned at the next block and retraced my route, parked, and just stood there in awe. The raised beds. The mulch. The stone walkway. The Little Free Library, for goodness sake! Heaven, absolutely heaven. But then, of course, I remembered that 60 million Americans (including 90% of all people living in a house built during the 1990s and beyond) live in neighborhoods with homeowners associations, many of which have covenants that do not allow front yard food gardens (or any food gardens at all in some cases). Even some cities have this rule. And thus I remembered how growing food actually grows involved citizens as well. Because the next thing you know, you’re showing up at neighborhood meetings and City Hall. The next thing you know, you’re running for mayor.

Tip: Read your neighborhood covenants before putting in a front yard food garden. Find out your city ordinances. Start showing up and speak out for change. Talk to neighbors and elected officials. Research best practices nationwide, as well as easy ways to make it extra pretty (Swiss chard, anyone?). Become an expert. Become an advocate. Grow the damn tomatoes while you work through the bureaucracy. Share them with people — their minds will change. (See my book for more specific tips relating to this topic.)

Recipe: Saucy Neighbor Sauce (see a picture of this on Instagram). Squeeze roasted garlic into a pot with chopped onions, tomatoes, and basil. Chop and toss in yellow squash, zucchini and eggplant if you have them, too. I add sea salt and a little sugar. Bring to boil and then simmer until a lot of the liquid is gone. Make Mama Bread. Open your door so the smell fills the neighborhood. Sit outside in your front yard garden with the pot of sauce and the warm bread for dipping. Share.

For more stories, tips, and recipes, buy my book on Amazon, available in all global markets in both print and digital forms (instantly-downloadable to all devices). I’m an indie author and your support is greatly appreciated. As always, 10% of all proceeds helps to grow food for those in need.






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