In 1943 ‘victory gardens’ as they were named or ‘war gardens’ were started during the World War. Since foods were rationed at that time the victory gardens helped reduce the pressure on the public food supply. The government campaigned with catchy and inspiring slogans, encouraging citizens to buy victory garden seeds and grow plants. Magazines and newspapers published articles and tutorials on how to grow and preserve garden produce!
Eventually, backyards, empty lots and even rooftops became a haven for gardens. People pooled in their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives. The result? Estimated 20 million home-grown as well as public gardens that produced 8 million tons of food.
Awakening a century old food movement
Last year when the pandemic was new, the uncertainty of getting supplies and the trips we had to make to the grocery story amidst widespread infection not just caused a lot of anxiety but also stirred history a little bit and it seemed like this century old food movement would see a comeback. Stores may shut down, production may get delayed, online apps may delay in delivery but we could grow our own produce in our garden patch, right? With so many tips on immunity boosting, organic gardening had begun to gain much more popularity.
Fast forward to 2021 when the uninvited pandemic is still hanging around. To many of us, the little gardens we have managed to grow are a source of some delicious dishes, hope and smiles. We don’t have the same vintage posters of back then to encourage gardening, but we do have Instagram and other social media- the poster art of our digital era to showcase our gardens and also interact despite the social distancing. You can also check out this thread to see the victory gardens and plants within our community thriving.
How powerful are these new age victory gardens?
Come to think of it, gardens these days are not just grown for food like they were back then, but they have also kept us occupied during the lockdown. Gardening is therapeutic and keeps us grounded. It has made us more mindful and inclined towards a sustainable lifestyle. Children, amidst their online classes are also enjoying learning about the plant kingdom. We don't need Popeye to nudge kids to eat spinach now. If they've helped in growing them, they are excited to eat the dish too! Meals cooked out of our own produce has so much more love and is so satisfying! Being responsible for nurturing plants has been making us aware of all the effort that goes into growing them until we see the miracles sprout. Apart from this, it goes without saying that gardening also has immense environmental benefits. A simple home garden helps us reduce our carbon footprint, preserve the overall ecosystem. Dig into our resources to know more.
Reimagine Recreate Restore
Three Rs - this is the theme for World Environment Day 2021. Making peace with nature is crucial, whether it is by growing trees, greening cities, rewilding gardens, changing diets or cleaning up rivers and coasts. A global ecosystem restoration will help us rise back from covid-19 better and even prevent future pandemics. Nature would heal faster and it would be a ‘victory’ indeed.
A pamphlet from the victory gardens of the war conveyed a short yet impactful message, ‘small things count.’ We are living in a time when this holds true in a huge way. Whatever little effort we put in towards healing the world makes a difference. Gardening is something fun and doable. It's a great way to begin contributing to the planet that has been a loving home to us all our life - one seed at a time. If you have sown a single seed of victory at home, kudos to you. You are a part of #GenerationRestoration a journey through which we can reimagine the victory gardens, recreate them in an even more amazing way and restore the environment together.
If the pandemic has inspired you to bring in a little jumanji in your balcony or backyard, share your posts and tag us with the hashtag #CauseAChatter.