Sustainable Backyard Tour Set For June 10

St. Louis Sustainable Backyard Tour

By Terry Winkelmann

Once upon a time, it was normal to see laundry lines strung across backyards, patches of tomatoes and peppers, an apple tree or two, and grapes on the garage. Composting was not the complicated process it’s often viewed as today — it’s just what you did with your kitchen scraps, if you had any. Chickens roamed the yard more often than prized pooches.

But overtime, we were urbanized, suburbanized and advertised into a plasticized, chemicalized, petroleum-dependent vision of the proper American backyard. Little wire flags warning dogs and children to stay off the lawn lest they be poisoned seemed to be the culmination of our tidy, expensive quest for pseudo-perfection.

Have we had enough? Maybe. More and more, you see vegetable gardens returning, along with beehives and chicken coops. Bloggers urge us to grow food, not lawns. Permaculturists remind that not all vegetables are annuals, and that edible landscaping may be the highest and best use of your landscape.

If you see the value of returning to a healthy yard… and a healthy planet… you can meet
likeminded folks June 10, on the 8th annual Sustainable Backyard Tour, A free, self-guided event, the Sustainable Backyard Tour opens the gates to private yards and gardens throughout St. Louis City and County. This one-day event is an opportunity for St. Louisans to see examples of healthier, less chemical- and energy-intensive landscapes and interact with their neighbors.

We all have a role to play in the preservation of earth and water. The Sustainable Backyard Tour was created to give people the encouragement and resources they need to start composting or growing vegetables or collecting rain water. It’s a fun way to meet the neighbors and get ideas for your own little piece of ground.

Each year, tour sites showcase a range of green living practices, including low-impact lawn care, using recycled materials creatively, beekeeping, gardening with native plants, mushrooms, fruit & nut trees and edible perennials, as well as rainwater conservation, renewable energy production and backyard habitat creation.

Made possible by dedicated hosts and volunteer organizers, the tour is part of the Sustainable Backyard Network. Funding for this year’s event is provided by St. Louis Jefferson Solid Waste Management, St. Louis County Soil & Water Conservation District, the William A. Kerr Foundation, St. Louis Earth Day, Greenscape Gardens, Wild Bird Rehabilitation, Dr. Bronner’s Family Foundation and others.

This year’s tour will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 10th. Maps will be available online and at area businesses beginning June 1st. See website for locations and register to attend! All registered guests will be entered into a drawing for the opportunity to participate in photo contests, favorite yard contests, and attendance prizes.

For more information, please visit online at www.sustainablebackyard.org.