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Swapping lawn for fruit: “because you can’t eat grass”

There’s plenty of discussion about America’s gardening revolution- from the Obamas to recession gardeners-, but I didn’t expect to see such radical change when returning to my parents town in Northern California. Here, in this once-agricultural town, the now more suburban residents are returning even their front yards to a more productive state.

Out for a walk one day I noticed Patty Silva Hicks tearing up her lawn and asked why. “I’ve decided to tear the grass up and plant fruit trees,” she replied, “because you can’t eat grass.”

She now has plans to plant 14 trees out front, including olives, avocados, plum, and peaches (all organic). She’s ripped out the sprinklers and is installing drip irrigation.

Since I happened to have my flip camera with me that day, she allowed me to turn it on and record her progress. In this video, she talks about the city’s water restrictions as motivation for change, being surprised by the expense of dirt and her family’s tradition of gardening.