Victory Gardens With A New Twist: Fighting Climate Change, Not War

A new movement aims to bring Victory gardens back to yards across America, only this time around, they’ll serve a different purpose.

If you’re not familiar with the idea, Victory gardens were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted across the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany during the First and Second World Wars. At that time, governments were rationing foods; there were massive labor and transportation shortages, making the harvest of fruits and vegetables really difficult. In order to ease the burden on the food system, governments encouraged citizens to grow their own produce; enough to feed themselves and their neighbors throughout the summer months.

As you can imagine, the gardens also served as a morale booster, bringing people together to celebrate patriotism in a very dark time. In the US, the movement really took off; schools even promoted the idea so students would become interested in planting with their families. Nearly 20 million Americans of all ages got involved, and by 1944, 40% of the produce eaten in the US was grown by home gardeners.

When World War ll came to an end, so did the government promotion of Victory gardens. Instead of growing their own, many once again turned to grocery stores to feed their families.  

They’re Back!

“Make America Green Again” is a campaign aimed at bringing Victory gardens back to our yards. This time, it’s not about war; it’s about fighting climate change and winning against carbon emissions.

According to Green Matters, the goal is to double the number of Victory gardens from the World War ll era, hitting 40 million by 2030.

The idea is being rejuvenated at a perfect time; with the world’s population expected to hit 9.7 billion in 2050, a tremendous amount of pressure is being put on our natural resources. Agricultural land is disappearing at a rapid rate. Not to mention, we live in a time where GMO foods are the norm, and chemicals are widely-used to ensure large yields and uniform crops. Growing your own food gets you away from some of the scary things happening in the agricultural industry right now, and of course, alleviates pressure on an already overloaded food system. You’ll also save money when growing your own and know that you’re eating produce at its nutritional peak.

How To Do It

Building a Victory garden is actually quite simple, and doesn’t require any more effort than other gardens you currently have at home. No matter what your yard size, you can build something that fits, even if you only have a small balcony. Modern-day vegetable gardens not only range in size, but they can be raised or straight in the ground and fenced to keep wildlife out. The possibilities are endless!

In order to obey the rules of a climate-oriented Victory garden, Green America has come up with the following checklist:

  • Grow edible plants
  • Plant perennials
  • Never use any chemicals
  • Compost
  • Garden for wildlife
  • Keep soils covered
  • Rotate plants and crops
  • Get other people involved

You can choose from so many different fruits and vegetables when planning your garden. If you’d like to plant a Victory garden reminiscent of the World War ll era, vegetables commonly grown in home gardens during that time included carrots, kale, lettuce, onions, radishes, and peas.

The Victory garden revival isn’t so far removed from many of the eco-gardening trends taking place around the world right now. Tired of eating less than fresh foods that are overpriced, many people now grow their own. Make it organic, and you’ve got yourself a Victory garden! Funny how such an old concept has come full circle.

I’ve planted my own Victory garden in my backyard. I decided to go with cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, beans, and herbs, of course. Have you planted yours?

Featured image courtesy of 6sqft.

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.