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Shon Law explains his lifescaping philosophy; a reader responds to our story about Spencer Beckstead and Arnold Palmer Hospital

Photo: , License: N/A


Editor’s note: On March 5, we published a story called “The case of Longwood’s do-nothing farmer,” about Shon Law, a man who is facing more than $130,000 in fines for his method of growing food on his front lawn. Law has some concerns about the story, so we allowed him a little extra space to respond.

I’d like to talk with you about lifescaping. Perhaps the paradigm shift signified by the term is relevant. You could also just say growing life. If the lifescaping word is helpful, then that’s great. If not, then please mentally swap in “growing life” for “lifescaping,” as that’s all I really mean. It’s about growing life.
Of course I have some feelings about the article, the wacko cover photo, the focus on argumentation, quotes I think were out of context or inaccurate and the general portrayal. But it is not so important. Done is done.

What’s important is how are we going to regrow the world? How to avert the life-destruction that is continuing to happen worldwide? How can we grow local food interdependence and freedom from corporate dominance, conditioning, and control? How can we address rising CO2? Catastrophic climate change? Water, soil and air pollution? The mass extinction of animals? These are truths that exist beyond the sentences we make about them and the ways we bully each other for being different.

Is there a decentralized, democratized, very low cost way to collectively address this at a grass-roots level? Well, for step one, let’s turn our grass roots into tree roots.

We’re in the midst of irreversible planetary collapse. Orlando is already a collapsed ecosystem, food desert and extinction-scape, along with the rest of urban and suburban America. Make no mistake. 

Natural farming in our yards, and even just the step of sheet-mulching the grass and seedballing monthly, is a great first step everyone can do for addressing these issues, on many levels, including the ground level.  Of course do permaculture, biodynamic farming and so forth. That’s wonderful. This natural-farming method is just a very easy way so everyone can get to growing food forests right now. I believe we could teach a dog to do it. Really. As long as their slobber doesn’t get the balls too mushy.

Lifescaping vs. landscaping

Landscaping, as it’s practiced, is a massive scale process of continual deforestation, desertification, soil, air and water degradation and generalized destruction. It’s a great harm. And it turns those lands that we have control over – our own yards, parks and so forth – into mandated monocultures of extinction. And it is happening all the time at massive scale. If you’re not convinced, keep thinking about it and do some Googling. I’m trying to keep this in space.

Lifescaping – or growing life, especially food forests – is a process of continual re-forestation by growing a multitude of beneficial trees and plants; it’s a process of water preservation as it relies upon no irrigation, creates a ground cover that reduces soil evaporation, reduces soil erosion and filters runoff contaminants, thereby purifying our water. It uses only human energy, seeds and the natural abundance of sunshine, soil and rainfall. It is soundless, though it increases the abundance of bees and birds, which themselves make a multitude of joyful noise unto the world.

Growing life is as easy as not doing anything, and as difficult as letting life grow in peace and making friends with bugs. Growing life costs a fraction of landscaping, while simultaneously healing the world. In fact, it’s how we’re all here to begin with. The living harmonies that are the life systems of our world are the real wealth and value upon which we depend and through which we flourish. Growing these is growing prosperity for ourselves, generations to come and all beings great and small.

Is this true?

And if it is true, then ...?

Let’s get growing.
Shon Law, via email

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