The Freedom of a Garden
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
At the beginning of this month our founder, Alex, launched a free seed giveaway to help inspire the community to grow their own victory garden. During these times of COVID-19 and social distancing, many of us have the time to think about societal norms when it comes to food. When we need groceries, we go to the store without a thought or concern, to grab a bag of oranges or fresh cilantro. Yet now we are all forced to think about what is “essential;” in work, in life, and in food.
Victory gardens were once a way to help communities come together in times of strife and war. A way to not only save money, but to save resources for the military, medical personnel, and the general public food supply. It was a morale booster, a way for the home front to feel a part of the war effort. In 1917, the U.S. National War Garden Commission was founded to promote planting, fertilizing, and harvesting private and public gardens across America. Victory gardens quickly became a very personal expression of patriotism, that was widely received by the public, prompting many civic associations, women’s groups, and local governments to publish numerous print resources for home gardeners. To further promote gardening, propaganda was published to incite pride and emotion, many involving Uncle Sam, and often featured women in strong, militaristic poses. Soon, the Bureau of Education got involved as well, and founded the U.S. School Garden Army (USSGA), calling children to the fight as “soldiers of the soil.” These efforts continued through World War I, and was revitalized during World War II, particularly gaining popularity in 1942 when food rationing affected every facet of daily American life. Eleanor Roosevelt went as far as planting a garden on the White House lawn. By 1944, it’s estimated victory gardens alone produced 8 million tons of food, about 40% of all fruits and vegetables consumed in the U.S. at the time.
Can you imagine if we could replace 40% of the produce grown in the U.S. by planting our own gardens in 2020? It would be world changing. Less pollution, less waste, less pressure on our commercial farmers and more food for our homeless and hungry. A big dream, but that’s why we wanted to start small with our local community, via free seeds. We had over 150 shares, likes, and messages for free seeds, which we were absolutely blown away by! If everyone who responded plants their seeds in their own victory gardens this season, we can collectively produce 4,500 pounds of food. That’s 30 pounds of free food per person, and saved trips to the grocery store, reducing carbon emissions for us and the supplier’s long distance trips. Considering the average distance food travels from farmer to plate is 1,500 miles.. That is a HUGE impact we can have.
For now, our free seeds, which were also donated by Ubuntu Cultivators, are on their way to everyone who responded. If you didn’t get a chance to participate, please contact us and we’ll try and get you any extra seeds there may be. Stay tuned right here as we’ll be working on a series of posts on how to plant your seeds at home.
Library of Congress