Hello Gardening fans! This is BethAnn from WV Vets to Ag and today I was thinking about the meaning and history of Victory Gardens. I know what I picture when I hear the words, but what else is there?
Victory Gardens, as we know them, started in World War I when the war put pressure on the national food system. This was a way for individuals to help ease that pressure and to secure their own food supply in a time of rationing. Public as well as private lands were tilled up and vegetables planted across the country. During World War II they sprung up again.
Today Victory Gardens are again dotting the American landscape, but this time it is not only food security, but Victory over a broken National food system riddled with corporate farms that participate in questionable practices including the very controversial use of GMOs. But it is also about community involvement and developing neighborhoods and re-establishing community bonds and civic pride.
Victory Gardens are also proving to provide victory over many personal barriers and struggles to successful lives. Nutrition and healthy eating are not the only ways gardening can improve one’s life. The activity is important to a strong and healthy body and this is a great opportunity to spend time as a family and friends, working as a team to provide for each other. Then there is the emotional and mental health benefits of gardening. Victory over depression and anxiety is found by many who spend time gardening and raising backyard animals.
There have been many studies that show those involved in gardening , including children, tend to have improved self-image, stay out of trouble, and simply improves their lives. There are programs in prisons, schools, Veterans Homes, Senior Citizen Centers, and numerous other places. Horticultural therapy reduces stress and calms the mind by decreasing cortisol (a hormone that triggers stress responses). It provides an enjoyable method of rehab for those with physical disabilities as well, by providing distractions while allowing the body to function.
So, if you want to get healthy, help the neighborhood, or improve the quality of your live, or someone you know, start a garden. Victory Gardens are the way to improve your community and the citizens who live in it. And, picking tomatoes is better than mowing the grass…