Is Your Yard Green?

The Sustainable Backyard Tour, held annually in June, is a unique opportunity to see firsthand how homeowners in St. Louis City and County are transforming their yards in a range of environmentally sensitive ways.

Attendees design their own routes and set their own pace, choosing from addresses and descriptions in the tour booklet which will be available around town and online beginning mid-June.

More than 80 families have welcomed tour goers into their yards over the past three years, demonstrating such practices as composting, organic gardening, chicken and beekeeping, native plant landscaping, rainwater conservation, renewable energy production and backyard habitat creation.

As the tour grows, more hosts are needed to keep things interesting as well as to give past hosts a break.

“We have a few charter hosts, who’ve been generous enough to be on tour every year, but we always want new yards to show that these things can be done anywhere,” says tour founder Terry Winkelmann. “Practices like homesteading and edible landscaping are spreading into every neighborhood and municipality—we want to find the trailblazers so we can shine a light on their efforts.”

While many host sites are traditional backyards, this year apartment buildings, rooftops, front yards, and school gardens are particularly encouraged. The deadline to register or suggest a potential host is May 1st.

Visit www.sustainablebackyardtour.com for details and a link to the online registry. Isn’t it time YOU go green?

This year’s community partners include Slow Food St. Louis, Grow Native!, the St. Louis Audubon Society, and the Saint Louis Beekeepers. Media partners include The Healthy Planet magazine, Gateway Gardener, and R3 St. Louis. The tour is Sun., June 22, 11a.m. to 4 p.m.