Most of us were not around when the term “Victory Garden” was a household word. With food rationing in World War II, 20 million American families answered the call of the government to support the war effort by planting gardens in their backyards, empty lots, and even roof tops of city buildings. It’s estimated that these gardens produced 40% of the vegetables consumed during the war, stretching the food supply to feed the troops.
We are in a war now and we need Victory Gardens as much as we did in the 1940’s. Our battles are not fought in the islands of the Pacific or the fields of Europe but around the entire world and in particular across the United States and in our homes. I am not talking about battles of bullets, but epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other nutrition related illnesses. Our children turn their noses up at vegetables and vegetate in front of television, MySpace, and video games. Self-centeredness breeds isolation as we ignore our neighbors in our daily pursuits. Our degradation of the environment spawns air, soil, and water pollution. Depletion of fossil fuels and water tables threaten our food supplies. Biodiversity is sacrificed to monoculture food production. Our taste buds are assaulted by tasteless factory food.
Imagine if you will, shooting the riding lawn mower and replacing the checkerboard mowed lawn around the house with a fruit, vegetable, and flower garden. If everyone did this, imagine the impact on our world. The exercise of gardening and eating the resulting fruits and vegetables would dramatically improve our health. Our children’s minds and bodies would be stimulated and strengthened. We would gain lifelong friends as we exchange ideas with our neighbors over the garden fence. Instead of burning 10 calories of fossil fuels in producing, processing, and transporting every calorie of food we eat, we’d conserve our natural resources as we burn our fat calories in producing our own food. As we intensively manage our multi-cropped gardens, we’d increase biodiversity and avoid polluting the air, soil, and water. Instead of corrupting our palettes with tasteless uniform hybrid vegetables, we’d savor the flavors, colors, textures, variety, and nutrition of heirloom vegetables. Through Victory Gardens, we win all of these battles and make the world a better place for our families. Sow the seeds of Victory! Now is a great time to plan to plant & raise your own vegetables this summer. Grow a Victory Garden. Anyone and everyone can and should do it!
~Dale Maurice Johnson
*images found on Wikipedia