By: Mark Westbrook

I’m not sure why it was there, breathing and photosynthesizing in its green infamy; maybe it once held a meaning but it doesn’t anymore. It simply lives without use or purpose. It’s my lawn and it’s about as useful as my belly button. My history class is scattered with the first colonies planted in America including Jamestown, Virginia, and New England. In these colonies if every family did not grow their own food, they would simply not survive. Today the same problem is lingering but most cannot recognize it.

With companies out there like Monsanto, Bayer, and Dow making food bound chemicals that are practically untested, they are ruining our bodies as well as the environment. That is another story that can be seen in the movie The World According to Monsanto or through research on GMOs. Once I was informed about edible landscaping I was determined to try it. One day as I twiddled my thumbs, my brother showed me a picture of a gardener that replaced its backyard grass with edible food entitled “Revolution.” I dropped everything I was doing and my two brothers and I started immediately.

We started by building a mud wall to keep our blind dog out. After that we learned how to garden through experimentation. Not even knowing when to plant, we went to work and turned both of our side-yards into two edible landscapes. We planted mostly beets, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and sunflowers, in addition to some cool experimental plants like avocados and jalapenos. Gardening your own food reduces your dependence on oil for bags and transportation of the vegetables among other things like the energy for the transportation to water the vegetables.

There are plenty of reasons to raise the food you eat. Many massive farming techniques aren’t feasible. As seen in King Corn and other movies, farmers spray their massive GMO corn fields with Ammonia Nitrate which leaches into the water system and kills massive fish populations at the mouth of the Mississippi. With today’s farming techniques, the only type of farmer can be a massive, single-crop, corporate farmer since small operations like those in India do not stand a chance. There is a calming reassurance to knowing where your food is at all times and how it was grown. After all can you ever really trust what you eat if you don’t know where it’s from? I’m sure everyone’s mother has exclaimed, “Don’t put that in your mouth! You don’t know where it has been!” I use the same concept in my food.