As Veteran’s Day is celebrated here in the United States it’s time to reflect on those brave men and women who have fought in wars and gave their time and sometimes their most valuable possession, their lives.
Whether we believe in a war or why it happened, lives are changed because of wars and those who served and their families and communities will always be affected. During WW1 and WW2 the government offered a program called “Victory Gardens.” It served several different purposes.
Victory Garden’s – their purpose
The main goal was to have as many people as possible plant their own gardens. This helped ease the demand on the government to produce food and that money could be spent on the soldiers and supplies. The impact of people growing potatoes and carrots alone helped the government immensely.
At times shipping and being able to supply food became difficult for the government. Food was rationed and if you had your own garden, no matter how small, you could stretch your rations out. Those who could grow their own food helped with shortages and often time’s gardeners had more than they could use and gave to their neighbors.
There was one more very important reason for the victory gardens. Gardening is relaxing. It gave families time together and time to think about other things than the war. It was a fun sort of therapy and the exercise was good for everyone too.
How the Victory Gardens worked
The government offered gardening programs. The programs varied from state to state but posters were hanging in building and ads printed in newspapers offering information and telling about the value of Victory Gardens.
Seeds and garden supplies were given to participants as long as the supplies lasted. Those who participated were encouraged to save seeds for their next year’s gardens and instruction on how to save seeds were supplied to them.
People grew gardens anywhere they could. Backyards, porches, containers, and even rooftops in cities all had gardens. Old abandoned lots were turned into lush gardens and even schoolyards grew vegetables. If it could hold dirt it could be a garden!
Many of the cities gave parts of their parks to be used as Victory Gardens. Golden Gate Park and Central park in NYC were two of the many who participated.
Victory Gardens future
The last Victory Garden called The Richard D. Parker Memorial Victory Garden or “Fenway Victory Gardens” is located in Fenway Massachusetts just outside of Boston Massachusetts and is still operating. It was started in 1942.
Richard Parker was responsible for the creation of Fenway Garden Society whose goal was to preserve the gardens. He was an active gardener until his death in 1975. The Memorial garden has four separate garden sections and a museum. The garden grows more flowers than vegetables today but the legacy lives on.
Today with the current war there is again a cry for Victory Gardens. It is to help out with food supplies but it is also to promote the green movement and improve our air and environment by planting green crops that help fight pollution and ozone depletion. Its also recognizes the value of gardening as being relaxing and a family event.
One of the current Victory garden projects is called Victory Gardens 2007+. The collecting and saving of seeds is also stressed in the program and the idea that growing a garden is good for the environment.
For those of you with family in the war or those who want to help in a small way, plant a garden.
Relax and enjoy family, share your produce and possibly even show you patriotism with a Red, White, and Blue theme garden.
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