“Cut Back” on Excess Mowing!

Following is a letter I sent yesterday to some officials & citizens of our city & county. If any of this is helpful to you in communicating with your local officials, HOA, neighborhood group, etc., please feel free to copy-paste and adapt according to your needs.

Subject: Opportunity To Save Money and Fuel While Helping the Environment: “Cut Back” on Excess Mowing!

Esteemed Leaders and Citizens who care about our environment and our local natural beauty:

The other night in the Mayor’s Beachside Advisory Committee (a monthly Zoom meeting), some of us brought up the topic of excess mowing. These photos of the City-owned empty lot next to my house show what I mean.

Grass that was already very short and scalped-looking got mowed again today. So did the City-owned lot next to __‘s house.

They are on a 2-week schedule — it should be once a MONTH (or maybe even less) at this time of year, and once every 2 weeks only in summer wet season. We are wasting money, burning fossil fuels needlessly, and creating a desert. It is also very unsightly.

Meanwhile, community gardens, fruit trees, and native plant gardens have to depend on grants. This is the opposite of resilience!

Excess mowing, and lack of shrubs and trees, makes the ground very prone to erosion and stormwater runoff (dry sand is water-repellent to a large degree).

All over the USA and the world,
landscaping norms are shifting, as scientists, activists, and others have come to recognize the undesirable impact of our excessive preoccupation with neatness in the great outdoors. The news about the relationship between landscaping and pollinators, water quality, and so on has gotten widespread coverage in the mainstream press.

We here in Daytona Beach need to move with the times, and ease up on excess mowing and other outdated landscaping practices. Mother Nature is soft and curvy! And those “curves” serve many essential functions, such as stormwater mitigation, drought buffer, pollinator support … and not incidentally BEAUTY!

We need beautification not “tidy-fication”!

This letter is part of what I hope will be an ongoing conversation and actions to shift our landscaping emphasis from tidy-fication to heat mitigation, food-growing, biodiversity, soil-building, and other essential functions upon which human life on earth depends.

Thank you all for listening. Share your questions and thoughts anytime, and let’s make our bioregion great!!!

Jenny Nazak
Daytona Beach Permaculture Guild (Permaculture Daytona on Facebook)