Friday, March 23, 2012

Victory Gardens

WWI Victory Garden Poster
I was watching The Victory Garden tonight and it seems there is a movement in the US to encourage community gardening. You can actually join a website and commit to growing your own garden, sharing your produce and encouraging others in your neighborhood to plant, grow and share the produce with others in their community.

There have always been gardens and communities that need to grow food together to feed everyone but during World War I and II public food was severely rationed and available food was very limited. In 1917, Charles Lathrop Pack organized the National War Garden Commission and launched the war garden campaign in hopes to help raise food for people at home and loosen the purse strings for feeding the troops. Communities were encouraged to cultivate available private and public lands which meant over 5 million gardens were planted and food production exceeded $1.2 billion by the end of WWI.

By 1944, a poster campaign encouraged planting gardens and over 20 million Americans responded to the call. These gardens produced up to 40% of all the vegetable produce being consumed nationally.

Victory gardens were planted in backyards and on apartment-building rooftops, with the occasional vacant lot plowed to use as a cornfield or for vine growing plants. You could find gardens in New York around vacant "Riverside", San Francisco in the Golden Gate Park - most notably and Eleanor Roosevelt even planted one at the White House. In London, large sections of Hyde Park were plowed into plots.    
                         A Victory Garden in San Francisco
There seems to be a new push toward Victory Gardens (is it because of the last 10 years of war? 9/11? or just a new found pride in our nation's health and wellness?). Most recently Michelle Obama, the presidents wife, planted a large kitchen garden on the grounds of the White House (2009). It's the first since Eleanor Roosevelt planted her garden in support of our nation's troops.

There are still 2 Victory Gardens around. The Fenway Victory Gardens in the Back Bay Fens of Boston, Massachusetts mostly features flowers now and the Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota still focuses on vegetables.

I found this information on Wikipedia.

Victory Gardens are individuals growing food at home while sharing experience and crops resulting in increasing individual and community involvement.

Victory Garden Networks are a collection of neighbors growing food at home and sharing together.

People's Victory Gardens are a collection of people growing food in a common space sharing the work, learning and harvest.

You can learn more about Victory Gardens at where you can sign up, find a garden near you, commit to starting or participating in a Network and find help or suggestions for any questions you might have. You might also check out The Victory Garden page on PBS - click here.

I thought you might like this video - I found it very interesting:

Hints for a Complete GOURMET GARDEN, on the cheap! - More cool how to projects

Other articles you might enjoy:

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