Victory gardens a growing trend again
Over the past decade, gardening developed into a viable part of the news, as the ranks of home gardeners swelled to record highs. This growing interest in the growing season can be attributed to a stubborn continuation of economic concerns and an accelerating passion for anything green. “Going green,” whether in energy efficiency, environmental protection or food production, continues to enjoy a popular ranking as an “in” thing to do right now. It’s estimated that during the past decade several million new household gardens have been planned, planted, and tended by first-time gardening families in the U.S. Though this may be a new experience for many, in some ways it’s a repeat of an earlier effort made 75 years ago, when a financial depression and a world war brought many Americans ‘back to the land’ in the form of backyard plots called Victory Gardens.
In 1943 more than 20 million gardens were planted to provide fresh fruits and vegetables on the home front. During World War II much of the commercially produced food was used to feed the troops. In the face of shortages and rationing, Americans turned lawns and flower beds into garden plots. City dwellers were able to get into the act by planting container gardens on rooftops and fire escapes. Community gardens were developed in vacant lots or on land in public spaces. Some of the biggest public gardens were located in New York’s Central Park, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and across the pond in Hyde Park in London. Actually, the Brits were the first to start growing their own food in 1940. As the war escalated, the movement spread throughout Canada and the U.S., as ordinary citizens did their part to support the war effort.