Food Sovereignty and Permaculture

Access to fresh and healthy food is a primary human need, and means more than being wealthy enough to buy it. Regardless of location or circumstances, all people have an inalienable right to grow their own food, and with that, must have access to land.

Likewise, for food to be healthy and nurturing, it must be free of synthetic chemicals, be organically grown, be nutrient dense, not be genetically engineered, not be processed by ionizing radiation, and if an animal product, be raised in a free-range setting.

To achieve these goals, it is necessary for people to understand these health principles and how grow food in this manner, and equally important to control the underlying public policies that may enable or prevent growing healthy food.

Therefore, Sustainability Action works in both realms, teaching people what constitutes healthy food and how to grow it, and advocating for public policies that ensure healthy food and facilitate access to land, both rural and urban. Because 81% of U.S. residents live in urban areas, and because it’s easier to influence local policy, urban food growing is our primary focus.


Sustainability Action Network is the Lawrence KS chapter of Food Not Lawns. Food Not Lawns shows people how to break their chemical dependency on turfgrass lawns, and how to grow food instead.

We conduct workshops to eradicate infestations of turfgrass and teach how to make lasagna raised-bed gardens of perennial polyculture plants. These are usually done as “crop mobs”, with friends and neighbors helping each other in rotation. We also do periodic front yard garden tours and informal plant exchanges.

As for public policy, a lawn eradication is a great context to discuss food policy, and if necessary, grapple with local codes and covenants that may restrict urban food growing. In addition, we work directly with other groups and government officials to identify barriers to local food and revise codes and policies as much as possible.

Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations