In WWII around 40% of North America’s fresh produce was grown in front yards, back yards, street verges and vacant lots. Even Eleanor Roosevelt tended a veggie garden on the Whitehouse lawns, and today Michelle Obama has followed suit.
These gardens were part of the war efforts [WWI & WWII], intended to help the Allies strengthen food security and free up more funds for the war. Everyone got into it, and the gardens were named ‘Victory Gardens’.
Victory Gardens were embraced by nations during a time of desperate need. For different reasons but no less desperate, we need the Victory Gardens again.
The benefits of growing our own food are many – my top 5;
- Healthy food – growing at home makes it easy to get organic food. Tastes awesome too – you’ll be amazed;
- Reduced food miles – avoids the carbon-footprint associated with food transport;
- Reduced waste – from transport, packaging, display;
- Relaxing – there’s a whole body of evidence showing how a little time spent getting your hands into the soil can have signficant benefits to our health. Veggie patches are even finding their way into healing landscapes for dementia patients;
- Seasonal produce – connects us and our food with the seasons. As much as I love watermelon, I appreciate it even more when it’s only available in season.
Don’t have time to garden? I know what it’s like – it needs time and care, and we’re busy busy busy. But as outlined above this is important stuff, so start small, even with one pot or planter. And veggies are a bit tougher than we give them credit for… as long as they get enough water they pretty much take care of themselves.
There’s a cool org in the US that is driving a resurgence in Victory Gardens [click on image]. I haven’t managed to find anything similar and current in Australia but I’m still looking. Check these guys out and get some inspiration. This approach is a key component of sustainable communities – and is just as much about sustainable food as it is about building community software.
Our food accounts for around 30% of Australia’s ecological footprint, so it’s an important plank in our transition to sustainable living.
Now I’m hungry.