To the Canton City Council,
I am writing to you about your newest victory over crime–the High Grass Law. Are you serious? You spent how many hours, at what cost to get this thing passed? So people leave grass long, and you cave to public pressure to make a law to force people to cut their grass?
I am certainly glad I live in the country where I can grow my grass any length I desire–the longer the better. If I didn’t, then my animals would starve and people wouldn’t eat.
If your are still reading, I didn’t write to harass you about something I am sure you feel very strongly about, but to question why in a time of escalating fuel costs and climate change brought about, in part, by emissions from petroleum driven engines, did you choose to exacerbate the problem without offering the public any real solutions?
What happens when some one who is cash strapped, working to put gas in their car and can’t hardly afford food for their family–yet doesn’t qualify for public assistance–let’s their mowing lapse because the are too busy struggling at other, more important things. How is a fine or jail time going to get their lawn mowed?
Did you know that most lawn mowers–private and public–are extremely inefficient and create 5% of the nation’s pollution? One mower is equivalent to the exhaust from 43 vehicles. The City Council should be setting an example of how to reduce fuel usage and emissions, as well as pollution created by “proper” yard maintenance regimes like fertilizers and pest sprays.
An incentive program to get vacant lot owners to utilize their lots as urban gardens would be far more practical, effective and useful to lowering greenhouse gasses than lining the coffers of City Hall with fines.
Encouraging people to plant “victory” gardens in their yards or using a different grass mix–one which includes more clover–would be similarly helpful. Eating “the view” is a growing movement to help alleviate growing food costs and battle rising poverty levels.
Similarly encouraging people to keep pets like goats, sheep or chickens–all probably forbidden by Canton City Ordinances–would help keep grass levels down while allowing people to feed themselves or at least create fertilzer for their new, City sanctioned urban gardens. . . .
You may be interested to watch a recent powerpoint presentation I put together for my city council on preserving farmland.
The key here is to create solutions which have impact and power to change peoples lives in the positive. If the City is really spending $250,000 then the situation has long been out of hand. Even a portion of 1400 lots could feed a lot of people and take the pressure off the City without costing a dime. I am sure there are citizens in Canton who would organize and tackle a “city-farm” project with relish. So let’s have a little less legislating and a little more pro-active educating on issues such as High Grass and what people can do about it.
Neal C. Foley
The Kitchen Garden Network