anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘gardening

Food Not Lawns

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bike and garden by Anna Brones

The Food Not Lawns movement is the topic of this week’s Foodie Underground feature article. It’s something I have thinking a lot about lately – our use, and misuse, of space. There is so much space out there that could go to growing food and building communities. Making your own urban garden might seem like a small thing, but it’s a gesture with a big impact. Imagine if every yard had a raised bed instead of just green space.

“As it turns out, we don’t need to all turn into full-scale farmers, but even just using a little bit of our space for growing food would provide great returns. In the United States, for the 85 million households with a private lawn, the average lawn size is about one-fifth of an acre. That amount of space can actually provide a fair amount of food, and imagine if you got only a handful of lawns production more food. If we grow food not lawns, the results can be bountiful. In Milwaukee, a 3-acre farm manages to feed 10,000 people a year. Some people say you can grow most of what you need on as little as one-tenth of an acre.

So why do we choose lawns instead of food? Because gardening takes time. Because Western culture has instructed us that a perfectly manicured green lawn is the sign of success. But in an era where we are more and more threatened by things like drought, rethinking our outdoor spaces and how we put them to use is of the utmost importance.”

Read the full article here.

Written by Anna Brones

June 3, 2015 at 09:08

Can Digging in the Dirt Make You Happy?

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I was thrilled to work on a story for Modern Farmer about the link between dirt and well-being. There’s some very interesting research looking at the benefits of microbes in the environment on human health. Here’s an excerpt:

The psychological benefit of nature has been well documented. When it comes to being happy or not, many studies show that psychiatric problems are more common in urban than in rural communities. That makes Lowry’s and Rook’s research interesting, as it gives us a better understanding of exactly why being outside, in a garden or on a farm, makes us feel good.

“People usually assume that the health benefits of exposure to green space are due to exercise. In fact two large studies now demonstrate that although exercise is definitely good for you, it does not explain the beneficial effect of green space,” says Rook. “Contact with microbial biodiversity is looking like the most probable explanation for the green space effect.”

Just like we’re becoming more and more aware of the benefits of foods with microbes (think: fermented foods with probiotics), being around a lot of different microbes from the earth and animals is good for us too. In other words, sterile environments that are too clean aren’t so great for you.

I was even more excited to see that the piece got picked up and discussed by the New York Times.

Now, on to finding a plot of land to get my hands dirty.

Image: jenny downing

Written by Anna Brones

September 3, 2014 at 09:14