History is the best teacher. Here is the lesson.
The original Victory Gardens were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe during World War I and World War II to offset the food shortages caused by these wars.
Even without the social media tools that are available to us today, the campaign to convince civilians to grow their own food was a great success. During World War II nearly 20 million Americans planted Victory Gardens, producing up to 40 percent of the vegetable produce consumed nationally.
Why couldn’t we be this resourceful and self-sufficient again?
“Your Victory Garden counts more than ever!”
These words from a WWII-era poster are even truer now than they were 70 years ago.
Now in this relatively peaceful era, we are facing a more powerful enemy—ourselves—our own careless ambition and our own success in manipulating the natural world around us.
Many would attribute the increasing pressure on our food and water supply to rapid population growth. But the truth is, the earth is still capable of abundantly providing for us all.
The real and often over-looked culprit of the growing worldwide food shortage is our large appetite for meat, which requires a phenomenal amount of land and water resources to satisfy. But that is another battlefront altogether, so I will leave that issue alone for now and work around it.
Yes, there are a heck of a lot of people to feed on this planet! In recent history we relied on science, government and big corporations to take care of us and solve that problem. Their solution was to implement industrial farming methods with the introduction of GMOs to help boost food production.
Now we are being harshly awakened to the fact that big isn’t always better and manipulating nature isn’t always the answer. Our food has less nutritional value than it did 50 years ago, the use of pesticides is increasing, bee colonies are collapsing, food safety is a common issue and yet the cost of food is still continuing to rise.
A return to more traditional and organic farming practices is the change that we would all love to see. But most people cannot afford to pay the higher cost of responsible and sustainable food production. And with so much arable land being utilized for cattle grazing, feed production and alternative fuel, there simply is not enough land left for the idyllic country farm to be the only source of food production.
If bigger isn’t better, then smaller must be.
The root cause of the problems that are getting so much attention these days is the lack of land available to grow food on. Yet most of us have access to land in our front and back yards that often goes wasted, as we spend both time and resources to grow grass, flowers and other inedible vegetation.
By planting new “Victory Gardens” we can reduce our grocery bills, have more control over the quality of food that we eat and help to offset the demand for food and the resulting pressure it’s creating on the environment worldwide.
Dig on for Victory
As in times of war, we truly are in a crisis situation with our survival at risk. But the consequence of a relatively peaceful and comfortable era is that for the most part our generation has not learned how to fight or how to make the sacrifices that are necessary to reach a better place. We have a tendency to be complacent and trust that things will work out, because in recent history it appears that they have.
However, the current situation should be proof enough that when we stand back and allow things to happen to us, they don’t always work out for the best. Instead of believing that we are powerless and allowing 3rd parties to fight our battles for us, we need to take matters into our own hands and claim our own victories.
So dig in, plant some seeds and update your status to “taking control.”
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Asst. Ed: Tawny Sanabria/Editor: Bryonie Wise