For most owners of Toronto real estate, the part of their property that doesn't have a house on it is just a bonus. It's a little area for the kids to play on and for the dog to poop on that occasionally needs to attention of a de-weeding chemical company. Street after street, you see these identical blank lawns owned by people who don't care about their lawns beyond making sure they look exactly like their neighbors'. Some people have higher lawn ambitions, however, and the queen of them all is Heather Colburn Flores, who penned the book "Food Not Lawns."

What's it about?

The full title of the book is "Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community." It is presented from the viewpoint of a gardening "guerilla" that advocates turning the lawns of Richmond, VA houses into ideological battlegrounds. The result is a humorous yet informative set of instructions on how to contribute to your community by growing food on your lawn rather than just grass. Other sections of the book focus on garden planning, pruning, attracting wildlife, balancing insect populations, and getting the most out of the water cycle.

Who should read it?

This is a good choice for anyone who is ecologically minded and has perhaps recently inherited some lawn along with their Guelph real estate and would like to put in a garden. It's also a good choice for anyone interested in gardening who is looking for a book with a bit more color in the writing than your average instructive tone. This is not a good choice for anyone easily offended by overt ideology that doesn't jive with their own, or for anyone who is looking for basic how-to instruction on which plants are easiest to grow.

How can I get it?

The book was first released in 2006 and has been in print long enough for it to show up in all the major retailers as well as the used bookshops. Though the used bookshops are often hit or miss you can order it online from Amazon.com at any time for around $17 and shipped to your Queen West homes for an extra $6 or so. You can also get it in e-book form for the Kindle for the same price, downloadable right off the website. If you're short of cash, you can also read it for free online at books.google.ca.

Who is Heather Flores anyway?

Heather Coburn Flores is not a housewife who lives in one of the homes in Baby Point, not living what she preaches. She has a degree in ecology and is a professional permaculture designer and environmental landscape design consultant. She once worked for the Food Not Bombs movement.




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