Monday, May 18, 2009

Eau Claire Food not lawns

Some of you know me through Just Local Foods, others through Sunbow Farm, Le Leche League, etc. Well, I am writing to you all, because my fiance, Gabe and I would like to start a Food, Not Lawns chapter in Eau Claire. For those of you who have never heard of the movement, it is an international organization of people who are interested in transforming urban landscapes into areas of organic produce production. Food, Not Lawns was started by Heather Cowles Flores, who authored the book Food Not Lawns, in Eugene, Oregon. There are chapters all over the country with the closest one being in St. Paul. What Food, Not Lawns aims to do is to unite producers, gardeners, citizens and educators in an attempt to help neighborhoods, communities and individuals transform their excess lawn or commercial space into sustainable, organic food production areas. Members of our local chapter of Food, Not Lawns will gather supplies through donations, hold meetings, plan events, implement garden plans and hold educational sessions for those around Eau Claire who are interested in organic and urban gardening. We decided to start a local chapter because we believe that the local food community around Eau Claire is strong and vibrant and a good number of people here seem dedicated to local food production.

We would love to see a local Food Not Lawns chapter help transform the Eau Claire landscape. We would love to see raised beds built on elementary school grounds and teach kids how to grow food, use rain barrels, harvest and cook their food and eat it for school lunch. We would love to see a Food Not Lawns home base of raised beds and planter gardens in an abandoned parking lot. We could reach out to businesses, hospitals, homeless shelters, community groups and even the city to help transform vacant space into healthy, productive and educational examples of food production. Of course, we would also aim to help individuals transform parts of their lawns or existing gardens into shining examples of organic food production.

The purpose of this email is to simply gather names and build an email list. Please forward this email to people who you think may be interested in attending an organizational meeting (of which I have yet to set a date), donating supplies (seeds, planters, lumber, barrels, dirt) or time, or who would be potential candidates for a Food Not Lawns project. If you have received this email and would like to continue receiving emails, please respond to me at
I have also started a blog at and will continue to build, edit and add information to the blog in the upcomming weeks and months.

Once I have an email list, we will communally decide on a good date for an organizational meeting (as well as a good place) and begin discussing projects and donation drives and I will make a flier. I would love to get some educators on board to discuss topics as well as put together a presentation on Flores' book and work with Food, Not Lawns so we all have a better understanding of its purpose and vision.

You can find out more information on the international Food, Not Lawns movement at or

We look forward to any and all feedback!! Thanks!

Erica and Gabe

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