WHAT IS A VICTORY GARDEN?
Victory gardens are also known throughout our history as “war gardens” or “food gardens for defense”, earning their innocuous names from the eras they were born in: during World War I as a citizen led effort to support the economy, and during World War II, as a government led propaganda campaign for a patriotic people to support the efforts of war. During this time even those in urban city environments began using literally any available planting space, ranging from home areas to public parks and roadside spaces. In fact, to not be growing a victory garden during this time was actually considered unpatriotic to many citizens.
Many times, during wartime, the participating countries involved often task its citizens with “war efforts” of many sizes to support the men and women overseas fighting. Not at all the least of those efforts encouraged were family home gardens, called “Victory Gardens”. The victory garden at its most basic level during its golden age was a food garden encouraged to be grown for and by families per request of a countries governments as a way to increase food production for every citizen, as well as to help ease and lessen the burden on the military for the food supply needed for soldiers during wartime. These victory gardens were called for both in place of and in supplement to the traditional family farms, as the governments began rationing much of the food going into and made within the country via factory farms and processing plants.
This garden would have been used to grow any variety of edible plants, from fruit bearing plants and trees, to any ground, vine and root vegetables. In some gardens one could even find herbs for both cooking and medicinal use. The foods grown, often grown within a community plan, a plan that would help decide what was needed and how it was going to be achieved. Doing this through group effort and the ultimate show of community involvement, the victory garden helped lead the way to wartime self-sufficiency through planting, canning, drying, and preparing raw or cooked food in daily meals, with this method thus providing for every family in need without a great weight or cost to the governmental provisions or extra taxation on burgeoning cities and towns.
WHY ARE VICTORY GARDEN IMPORTANT IN TODAY’S WORLD?
Some of the key requirements for human life to succeed and thrive begin with but are not limited to: fresh food security from a source that is available to all, clean water sources available to all, clean air to breath, and not least of all: the ability to form both emotional and physical connections to other human beings. Learning to grow our own food fosters a love for, connection to, and care for other humankind, the abundance of plants, trees, and fungi, and the land upon which we live, something that seems to missing as a societal normalcy in so many places across the globe, and particularly on home soil.
In this modern day full of new worlds of emerging science and technology, and an ever changing ethical, political, and cultural climate, our fight for food health, availability, and security is no longer limited to just some nostalgically patriotic ideal of supporting a war. Our societal struggles have unavoidably evolved from battles for nations and borders, to battles for our food and water cleanliness, health of our ecosystems on this planet, and the security in our food and our sovereign selves.
What we once termed the “victory gardens” are once again taking root in our societies, by finding their way back into our backyards, into any and all available open growing spaces, and back into the collective of human hearts and minds. Today the planet is riddled with so many ecosystem killers: i.e., GMO’s (genetically modified organisms, also known as genetically engineered foods), chemically laden and toxic food touted to be somehow better for us by gigantic corporations, over-processed and nutrient deficient food, soil toxicity and nutrient depletion, water pollution from big oil, inhumane animal agriculture, unsound and dangerous large farming practices, a globally warming planet due to carbon outputs and cloud seeding practices, and generally governments and monopolistic companies that have absolutely no interest in the best interests of the people nor their health.
Victory gardens are fast becoming symbols of nations full of people rising up in movement together to take back our choices in where our food comes from, the health content and nutritional value, and the many laws concerning the multi-facets of a food industry gone rogue. People are beginning to see that regardless of the rising cost of food and fuel, and the stipulations made on food by overgrown monopoly companies, our food and our seed does not belong to just one company or person to govern and control, but rather to each and every human on this planet, as a whole. Rather than terming them victory gardens today, these home gardens are often known as part of a “Grow Your Own” movement.
These gardens are becoming so important to communities and local environments in what seems to be a revival due to not just the ability to feed everyone with sustainable agriculture, but these small gardens provide soil replenishment, food, oxygen, and enhancement to the surrounding ecosystems, as well as the ability to pull human beings together, strengthening the bonds and necessary changes needed in our world to stop the catastrophic effects resulting from such unethical and wasteful practices.