Volunteers turn lawns into gardens

May 01, 2013
Lynda Hopkins
The Healdsburg Tribune

Transition Healdsburg is turning philosophy into action by transitioning local lawns into food gardens.

“I just think it’s important for the community and for all of us,” said Cindy Jacobs, who volunteered to help install raised beds and plant a food garden in a fellow resident’s backyard.

“I think it’s important to rely less on fossil fuels for future generations. And I love to garden, and I love to give back.”

On Monday, a half-dozen helping hands gathered at Karen Armstrong’s Healdsburg home to heap soil into raised beds and plant beans, squash, lettuces, and kale. The lawn conversion is part of an ongoing ‘garden wheel’ project initiated by Transition Healdsburg. It represented the second successful garden-related project for the group; the first was a reconstruction of the raised beds in the senior housing complex near Badger Park.

The transition movement is a global movement based on the premise of peak oil, and the belief that individual towns and cities can empower themselves to decrease their impact on the world and increase local self-sufficiency. The local Healdsburg chapter coalesced in May of 2012.

“The whole thing about transition and this garden business is lawn to garden. And it’s called a garden wheel program, where people come and help, and then later people will come and help those people in their garden,” Transition Healdsburg founder Carolyn Harrison explained.

On Monday, Karen Armstrong was the lucky recipient of the group’s efforts, and next it will be her turn to help others who have helped her. She likened the garden wheel project to an old-fashioned labor share or barn raising.

“It’s kind of the old idea of the farm. Maybe one farm had one horse, and the next neighbor had another horse, and the next neighbor, he owned a thresher. Well, they put ‘em all together and you can take care of a field in no time at all... take care of that guy’s field, then when you finish there, you do that guy’s field, and that guy’s field,” Armstrong said.

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