According to the Food Revolution Network (FRN), lush, green lawns cover about 32 million acres of land in the USA, twice the amount of land used to cultivate the fruits and vegetables we eat. The average lawn, again according to FRN, uses about 10,000 gallons of supplemental water (excluding rainwater) annually. Assuming the average lawn is about a quarter of an acre (my guess), that means that every acres of lawn uses 40,000 gallons of supplemental water each year. If my math is correct, that 32 million acres of lawn require 1 trillion, 280 billion gallons of supplemental water each year. That’s 1,280,000,000,000 gallons. That’s one hell of a lot of water going toward plants that provide no nourishment to us.
Until moving to the side of a mountain, I’ve had a lawn with each house I’ve owned/lived in. I watered them, fertilized them (in most cases), cut them, trimmed them, and otherwise did what I needed to do to keep them looking good. And lawns can, indeed, look good. But so can vegetable gardens. In fact, I would argue, vegetable gardens can look absolutely beautiful due in part to their diversity. Think of purple and green leaves, different textures, multiple color fruits and vegetables. Gorgeous! And gardens use less water than lawns. According to FRN, gardens use about 34 percent of the water required in lawns. So, if my math is correct, we’d use 435,200,000,000 (435 billion 200 million) gallons of water per year if we switched, saving 844 billion, 800 million gallons.
Obviously, we’re not going to suddenly transform all lawns to gardens. But I wish we’d try. Aside from saving water, imagine how beneficial it would be to have ready access to fruits and vegetables in the event of massive commercial crop failures or the collapse of our food distribution systems.
And that’s what’s on my mind this morning (among other things).