Conventional lawns aren’t just a symbol of conformity — they require regular maintenance and gobble up water. In places like California, where water is scarce and it almost never rains in the summer, it makes sense to replace grass or landscaped front yards with edible gardens that are both productive and attractive. On a recent weekend in Petaluma, CA, 30 community volunteers came together to transform their neighbor’s front yard into a lush, edible garden in just one day. The lawn transformation was organized by Petaluma-based sustainability nonprofit Daily Acts. Hit the jump to watch a time-lapse video showing the fruits of their labor.
Transforming a front yard into an edible garden doesn’t just provide you with fresh fruits and vegetables, it sets an example for neighbors to see. And the beauty of planting an edible garden in a place like Northern California is that you can grow almost anything, from fruit trees to root vegetables, and many edible plants will grow year-round. Collective actions, like the ones organized by Daily Acts, also breed a sense of community engagement.
In the video, which was produced by the Global Oneness Project, Daily Acts Founder Trathen Heckman talks about how small actions can help address big problems like climate change, water scarcity and suburban sprawl. “There’s never been a time where your choices have mattered more,” says Heckman. “Doing something as simple as us transforming a landscape creates a model that anyone could look at far and wide.”
Since planting the edible garden shown in the video, Daily Acts also transformed the yard of a recreation center located across the street, so change is quickly spreading across the neighborhood. As its name suggests, Daily Acts has a track record of motivating people to plant gardens, install rainwater catchment systems, start worm bins, and other acts of positive change. During last year’s 350 Home + Garden Challenge the group transformed 234 lawns into edible gardens, removing an estimated 91,000 square feet of grass, and they also installed 21 greywater systems.