TGoG 120 – Urban Gardening with Sue St Jean

Listen to the Episode Below (01:01:55)

Growing food in a small space is often challenging, but Sue St. Jean has taken on that challenge head on.  She ripped up her lawn in back and front of her 5000 ft² (464 m²) Rhode Island home, and began planting edibles to feed her family.

Sue St Jean

Sue St. Jean

She then became a URI Master Gardener and began to teach others and spreads the word via her local AM radio station WADK.

Sue writes an amazing blog at Less Noise, More Green that documents her journey about her transition from lawn to food and provides lots of tips and tricks for cooler climate gardeners in her region.

Articles mention during this episode;

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I Support Food Not Lawn

For those who don’t know, I have a passion for growing my own food here.  In fact I am so in to growing our own food that I ripped up all our lawns and replaced them with garden beds and fruit trees.  The vast majority of our plants are edible which is by design.  I’m a big advocate for Food not Lawn!

Gavin Webber's lawn before

Before with Lawn

Now, I had often wondered if this trend was catching on.  It didn’t seem to matter how far I walked around my neighbourhood, I couldn’t find anyone else with food growing in their front yard.  Maybe I’m not as trendsetting as I think I am.

Grow food not lawn - Veggie patch, January 2010

After with Food

Anyway, I was pleasantly delighted when I was contacted by Sue St Jean who lives in Rhode Island, USA, who also grows food in her 464 sq metre yard.  I caught up with her over the weekend and recorded a chat which will be published via tomorrow nights podcast episode.  It was really interesting to learn how she grows so much food in her small urban block and her front yard, and still manages to make it look really nice which gets the neighbours onboard and manages a big crop.

Then as luck (or fate) would have it, Christie, one of my Facebook followers and podcast listeners brought this story to my attention.  It was regarding food not lawn!

It’s about Tim Rinne who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, who was very worried about climate change and food scarcity, so he decided to take action.  He ripped up his own lawn and started to grow food.  This had a massive ripple effect throughout the neighbourhood and many other families now grow their own food in their yards.

His story was so inspiring that I had to embed the TED talk into this post.

 So here’s to growing food not lawns and all the trailblazers throughout the suburbs who are trying to make a difference and set an example to show that it is easy growing food with a bit of practice.

Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for my chat with Sue St Jean!

Taking The Time To Relax

Living a more sustainable lifestyle is sometimes quite hectic, so it really pays to take a step back regularly and relax.

Not relaxing using the couch potato method in front of the idiot box, but quality relaxation performing a hobby or task that changes your thinking from the day-to-day humdrum and lets your mind drift so that the tenseness and stress just drips away.


It’s not easy being green, but at least you can have fun doing it!

Call me unusual but I find that the simple tasks like weeding, woodwork, or mucking out the chook house are quite relaxing.  They are not too mentally challenging of physical in nature, and you can get lost in the task.  I find them peaceful, and calming.  All that is needed afterwards is a nice warm shower, a homebrew beer, and a homemade meal to finish off the day.

So here’s my question to you.

What do you do to relax when pursuing a simpler life?  Remembering that TV doesn’t count, so what meaningful hobby or activity de-stresses you?

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