Independence Day is a wonderful holiday that captures the spirit of our country and the essence of summer in the hearts and minds of many. While we are celebrating the freedoms we have in this country and the height of summer activities I would like to reflect on the independence that raising a garden provides. Raising a garden and providing for yourself and community has long since been viewed as good citizenship.

Thomas Jefferson famously said, “Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds” and “Agriculture…is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.”

And don’t forget about Victory gardens. During WWII 20 million Americans planted gardens wherever they could find space. Gardening went through a renaissance during the war as families worked to make their rations go farther and do their patriotic duty. However, as WWII ended the U.S. government ended their promotion of home gardens and home food production decreased as the decades wore on, until families lost the knowledge and desire to begin their own gardens.

Now the local foods movement has brought gardening back into view and Grow Appalachia has given many families the wonderful opportunity to grow their own “victory gardens”, pushing us to once again have pride in knowing our land, feeding our bodies, and envisioning a more self-reliant community.  During this 4th of July week I’d like to show you all some pictures we’ve taken this spring and summer of the beautiful gardens giving us all some more independence. 

Tevis Turner’s beautiful garden

The first string on Tevis’ Florida weave

Maggie works on  the Florida weave while James checks his pepper plants

Beautiful squash blossoms

Sweet potato tires!

Baby beans!

McKenzie knows how to stay cool on these hot summer days!

After deciding that a bathing suit was more suitable attire for playing the in water hydrant, McKenzie helps harvest the first potatoes of the season!