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YOUR Victory Garden – How you can reduce your food budget

July 17, 2012

Remember the stories you heard about the World War II home front? Perhaps your parents or your grandparents can explain the rationing that took place here in the US during the War. Looking back, it seems that the people at home understood that sacrifices had to be made in order to make sure the war effort was getting the attention and resources it needed.

A way of life for several years, each family was issued ration cards. While some food items were scarce, others did not require rationing, and Americans adjusted accordingly. “Red Stamp” rationing covered all meats, butter, fat, and oils, and with some exceptions, cheese. Each person was allowed a certain amount of points weekly with expiration dates to consider. “Blue Stamp” rationing covered canned, bottled, frozen fruits and vegetables, plus juices and dry beans, and such processed foods as soups, baby food and ketchup.

Labor and transportation shortages made it hard to harvest and move fruits and vegetables to market. So, the government turned to its citizens and encouraged them to plant “Victory Gardens.” They wanted individuals to provide their own fruits and vegetables.  Nearly 20 million Americans answered the call. They planted gardens in backyards, empty lots and even city rooftops. Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives.  Farm families, of course, had been planting gardens and preserving produce for generations. Now, their urban cousins, even the schools,  got into the act. All in the name of patriotism.

When the war ended, people stopped gardening and then, since farm production was not fully up to speed, there were shortages again. I know my father who was raised in Brooklyn, New York, started our family garden when they moved to our New Jersey subdivision in 1953.  He was the one who nurtured the veggies, while my mom, who had grown up on a chicken farm in New Jersey, took responsibility only for her rhubarb and chives.  My urban father was the family farmer.

The concept of growing your own food does not need a lot of space. One suburban family has dedicated its front yard to food production, but perhaps this is not your aesthetic cup of tea.How about a few raised beds built on to a small condo patio? Or a planter wall?

Or a hanging planter?

Look at the ingenuity that city dwellers who want fresh food have come up with!!

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So, I am not suggesting we can provide all our own food with a few baskets and pots, but you CAN get involved in the growing process, teach your children where food actually comes from and help them to eat more nutritionally, understand better the challenges of the weather and other issues that can cause loss, and, in time, harvest some of the best tasting produce you have ever had!

Save Money….Grow or Buy Local Food!!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2012 1:59 am

    A victory garden is a wonderful concept which everyone can achieve. Even if you have very little space you can raise a multitude of veggies.
    As long I can remember my family has had a garden, or two, or three. I was raised on a hillside farm where we actually had 4 garden plots for corn, beans, potatoes and multiple types of vegetables. I have raised a garden every year since. This has been for 32 years. It is so nice to grow your own fresh veggies to eat now share with friends and family and put away much of it for later via canning and freezing.

    • July 17, 2012 12:20 pm

      When I was in New York City in May I was able to see one of the huge markets in lower Manhattan and noticed the large number of plants (tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc) that were for sale. It got me thinking about where and how city dwellers were managing to supplement their food purchases with food they themselves could grow. If they can do it there we can do it anywhere (to borrow a phrase)

  2. Reverend Mother permalink
    July 17, 2012 1:43 pm

    Great article! And one that I can whole-heartedly agree with! I would love to see Victory Gardens make a comeback. Especially, the idea of teaching children in schools about how to grow food, and about their relationship with nature is so important. If I would change anything, it would be the concept that Victory Gardens be associated with war. I believe that when everyone has enough good, nutritious food, then more peace at home emerges – there is less crime – and psychological studies have supported this. I have recycled our weekly water bottles into planters for years – using what you have available to you to plant in is so easy and economical too, as you have shown with your various planters. I love reading your blog!

    • July 17, 2012 4:15 pm

      I wrote an earlier post (http://wvfarm2u.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/school-gardens-in-west-virginia/) that explained what was being done in one school in Morgantown to help kids become aware of how their food is produced. Here in Huntington we have a program called Weed and Seed which is located near one of the housing projects to involve a part fo the community that can not access the community garden because of lack of mobility in growing vegetables on a plot a block away. But availability of fresh food is only part of the answer…people also have to be able and willing to take 15-30 minutes to cook a meal from scratch. Our local market, The Wild Ramp, will be one of several places in town where cooking lessons are or will be given.

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