Sunday, March 22, 2009

Evolution of the Victory Garden Part 5

I'm finally back to write the next part of my Evolution of the Victory Garden. I had written part of it out ahead of time and thought I knew where I'd be going with this, but things are changing rapidly, and people are sending me lots of new information, which I greatly appreciate. So where to start? I'm not entirely sure, but here goes.....

We've had "Victory Gardens" throughout history. I've even read that they started beyond what I had originally posted about the depression in the US in the 1800's, back to Europe in the 1600's. This makes me think, that in times of fear and need, we turn to our connection to the land, Mother Earth, to keep up warm, fed, and safe. Once again, we, here in America at least and maybe in lands far away, are feeling that need to be nurtured by our Mother.

We now have the beginning or the Modern Victory Garden. A retreat to the land. I wonder, how is this different from Victory Gardens of the past?

The difference is in the motivation. During the depression in the 1800's and the Great Depression of the 1930's , it was about survival and morale. During World War I, it was about patriotism, as it was in WWII. Now we're in the era of big agribusiness control, terrorism, food fears, fear of bacterial/viral contamination's, in the midst of a major recession, possible depression, AND we're at war. Once again we turn to the land to save us.

We now face large centralized farms using up too much fossil fuel, using too many chemicals, accidentally spreading e-coli and salmonella. We're seeing outbreaks of dangerous bacterial diseases, obesity, and poor health, in spite of our wealth. We've lost connection with the land and we're out of touch with our food. You can't buy a piece of lamb with fat on it, because the grocery store knows Americans are afraid of the vision of fat, yet we can sell McDonald's hamburgers like no tomorrow, which are laden with more fat then the piece that was trimmed off the lamb chop in order to sell it.

As American's we've lost our collective food minds. But the sanity is returning to the sweet smell of Victory Gardens. Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, both have petitioned the White House to plant a Victory Garden. Finally, First Lady Michelle Obama is having the ground broken on the South Lawn of the White House Lawn for a garden that will supply vegetables for the First Family. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

Many are excited about this "new" trend, but there is nothing new about it. In 1800 John and Abigail Adams moved in and planted the first garden at the White House. In 1801 Thomas Jefferson adds ornamentals and fruit trees. In 1814 all is destroyed by the British, but in 1825 John Quincy Adams plants fruit trees and herbs to support the first family. In 1918 Woodrow Wilson uses sheep to fertilize and mow the First Lawn to conserve resources for the war effort. Then, in 1943 Eleanor Roosevelt plants a WW II Victory Garden on the White House Lawn, setting an example for the American People. Now, here we are 66 years later, and we're returning to the soil. Curling up in mamma's lap in a time of need.

Personally, we headed toward the "self sufficiant" life style several years ago. We started with a vegetable garden, then some sheep, then chickens, and now goats. We live on the coast, my husband fishes for much of our food. We're planning on clamming, hunting, gathering, growing vegies/fruits, raising/ butchering meat. We were going to do this before the economy went south, but now, it feels like a necessity. We turned to the soil to heal other ills, now she serves us in an unexpected time of need. I am greatful to my parents for teaching me what I needed to survive in these times. And I'm grateful for my luck in having a place where I can do this and that Mother Earth is providing us with what we need.

Happy Spring, and here's to an abundant crop!

Hey! Why don't we come up with posters for the new Victory Gardens? Got any ideas? Leave them here.

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