The Crab Grass Frontier: Lawns, Sensibilities, and Sustainability
Wennersten contends that the largest and perhaps the most important crop grown in Maryland is grass, since so much of the landscape is devoted to lawns. From a historical perspective, lawns are part of an aristocratic tradition that dates back to Henry VIII in England. The wealthy could afford lawns, while the poor and middling classes had to put their acreage into crops in order to eat.
From a sociological perspective, the lawn continues today as a symbol of ease and plenty and a statement about suburban living as a rebellion of sorts against the crowded and "unnatural" life of the city. In an age of sustainability and environmental questions, the lawn poses both a cultural and an environmental challenge as fertilizers and pesticides used to make the grass grow greener contribute to the degradation of Maryland waters.
Come and join this discussion on the past, present, and future of the lawn.
John Wennersten is a former Professor of History from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and has also been a visiting professor at Tokiwa University in Mito, Japan. He has published three books about the Eastern Shore and the Chesapeake Bay, including The Oyster Wars of Chesapeake Bay, which examines the rise of the oyster industry throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Wennersten received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and his M.A. from Baylor University.