The land on which my family dwells may best be described as hardscrabble. In fact, just a few years ago, our subdivision was a Texas horse farm situated atop caliche clay and rock. Vegetable farms are rare here. At our local farmer’s market, most of the vendors drive several miles to participate.
Thus, like many other suburbanites, I find it difficult to attain local produce…the kind touted as being healthier and also eco-friendly because it doesn’t have to be trucked hundreds of miles.
This winter, I decided to do something about the situation. Using WWI and WWII-era Victory Gardens as my model—because they, like my garden, were designed simply to supplement a family’s food supply, I purchased a raised veggie bed kit online. My husband prepared the dirt. My mother, who vividly recalls her father’s vast garden, suggested plants. And my toddler “helped” me plant seeds and seedlings.
Since I got a late start in planting this Spring, just a handful of things have come in so far: a few squash, a cucumber, some peppers and beans. There are herbs, zinnias, marigolds and nasturtiums crowded into the kitchen garden, too. The tomatoes are next.
But in creating my modern Victory Garden and thinking, talking and blogging about it, I’ve gained more than food and flowers. I’ve nurtured a deeper sense of connection, of community with my loved ones. Several of them have shared wonderful stories about their parents’ or grandparents’ gardens, both here and abroad. A handful of folks are now planning their own fall vegetable beds, as are many other Americans now concerned about both the recent tomato salmonella scare and the many mass media reports about food and fuel scarcity.
I never thought of myself as “trendy,” but the grassroots Victory Garden revival is one trend that I can get behind. I believe our nation’s patriotic gardening heritage offers us more than just earth-friendly solutions for some of the issues, from food security to global climate change. Victory Gardens offer us the chance to reconnect with the earth, with our family and friends. And also, perhaps most importantly, a Victory Garden revival offers a chance to rediscover the best, most resourceful side of ourselves.
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