GIMME GREEN - Few people may think of lawns as being an industry, but “Gimme Green” makes it clear that lawn maintenance is a big business. From its opening shot of sod squares rolling off a conveyor belt, this cogent short documentary traces the expensive obsession that Americans have with their front yards.
How big is this obsession? $40 billion annually goes into lawn care. In the American Southwest, where rainfall is not considerable, 75% of homeowner water goes into grass maintenance. Americans also pour 30,000 tons of pesticides per year into their lawns – even though the National Institutes of Health have identified carcinogenic properties in those chemicals.
In some areas, lawns can generate municipal revenue. A Florida “lawn enforcement agent” is shown looking for front yards where too-tall grass can be used for levying fines. The same neighborhood is home to a nosy realtor with her own “Yard of the Month” award that she gives to unsuspecting homeowners – who find up being featured in her sales and marketing material!
“Gimme Green” also provides a view of artificial turf salesmen who attempt to ply their goods by appealing to one’s eco-sensibility (it saves on water) and laziness (it doesn’t need mowing). And, yes, those salesmen visibly bristle when their products are called “Astroturf.”
“Gimme Green” only runs 27 minutes, but it is endlessly fascinating and richly entertaining in its celebration of lawn mania. Let’s raise a glass of dandelion wine to this fine little film.