A Simple Plan to Save the World

Here’s how we feed everyone, repair our environment, and provide meaningful work: convert lawns into organic vegetable gardens.

Imagine if all the property owners currently pumping water and fertilzer into their grass carpets used our precious natural resources to grow food — healthy, unprocessed, nutrient-rich vegetables. Imagine if vast swaths of public land currently serving as paved parking lots and grass-covered parks were parceled out to non-stakeholders for community gardens. Imagine if we used our wealth to feed each other.

An entire city block in my Hollywood neighborhood is devoted to such a cause. It’s called Wattles Garden. Hundreds of apartement renters in the area are granted a small plot of arable land to grow what they wish. This being Southern California, where the sun shines year-round, residents harvest thousands of pounds of real food derived directly from the ground, steps away from the Star Tour buses cruisng Hollywood Boulevard.

At my homestead, on the other side of the Boulevard, we’ve successfully replaced the grass with gardens, and after only two seasons we’re growing the majority of the food we eat. When we have too much of something — zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers — we donate the excess to neighbors.

The benefits of growing food instead of grass are many. The drawbacks are…well, none.

For those too busy with “real” jobs to tend to their broccoli and brussels sprouts, offering plots of land for sharecropping is a fine alternative. Spreading the bounty from a privileged few to a population of many isn’t an inherently bad thing to do, despite what the virulent anti-Socialist rhetoric of the past 80 years has claimed. Try it some time. It feels good.

Tending to a garden makes a net positive impact on the world. Maintaining a lawn does not. What mark do you want to make?

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