Yesteryear’s Community Gardens Today!

MIKE: Scott, I know you’re a big WWII buff! Pop quiz for you… What do know about Victory Gardens?

SCOTT: Well Mike, all I know is our grandparents had to start gardens in their backyard to feed their families, so the farmers could feed their crops to the troops. What does that have to do with today’s article?

MIKE: Scott, community gardening isn’t unique to the times we are experiencing now. Covid and rising food costs have people not only growing veggies for themselves, but also for friends and neighbors. In fact, community gardening has been with us as far back as the late 19th century. Americans have turned to the garden to confront social problems such as economic recession, war, urban decline and environmental injustice. The economic recession of the 1890s was the genesis of community gardening, using vacant lots to grow food for those hit hardest by the economic downturn.
In fact, the good ole US of A has promoted the growth of community gardens for well over 100 years. They were first popular during World War I to ensure there was enough food for our armed forces fighting around the world. So yes, Scott, you are right. War Gardening, or Victory Gardens, gave the American citizen an opportunity to help the war effort. Victory Gardens helped free up large farms to focus growing food for our soldiers. It encouraged Americans to grow their own food by planting vegetable gardens in their backyards, churchyards, parks and playgrounds. 
School children known as “Soldiers of the Soil” helped create 5.2 million garden plots by the end of the First World War. The USA’s WWII Victory Garden effort was even more successful.  By the end of the war, there were over 20 million Victory Gardens in the United States. This statistic meant that there was one Victory Garden for every seven people. But after the war, people became more reliant on a brand-new concept called “The Super Market.” And we became so dependent on these food suppliers, that we almost completely forgot how to grow our own food. That is until recently.
Through Land Grant Universities, Urban Agriculture and Community Family Services, people are re-learning to provide for themselves and those less fortunate within their communities. One such community service is in your own back yard. The Sylvania Area Family Services, SAFS, mission is: “To enhance the quality of life for Sylvania area residents and reduce the effects of poverty through program, services and collaboration with community partnerships.”
The Sylvania community has allowed the Sylvania Area Family Services the opportunity to help thousands of people to find strength, stability and independence, as well as food security. One very important way SAFS is helping is by growing fresh, healthy food in their community gardens for those in need. So, thank you, Sylvania Area Family Services.

SCOTT: During your next coffee break, I suggest you do a web search on Victory Gardens. There are some interesting ways to go about organizing your own. Until next time, green thumbs up!

Leave a Reply