Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Victory Garden

The stalwart housewives, the inspiring calls to duty, and the bright splash of green amidst all the red, white, and blue.  Patriotism can take a lot of forms, but one that has always captivated this pair of urban farmers is the Victory Garden poster. Since we're only in our late twenties, we've never actually experienced life at a time when these posters were commonplace; in fact we've only ever seen them in museums.  But their messages are timeless, and have played a major part in inspiring us to take this journey into producing food in our own backyard.

In case you aren’t familiar with them, Victory Gardens were a concept that sprung up during World War I and again during World War II.  With the country’s resources stretched thin while fighting overseas, the US government encouraged families on the home front to grow vegetables, preserve fruit, and raise hens to supplement their food rations.  Victory Garden posters told everyone in America that every ounce of food they produced helped their country win the wars in which their loved ones were fighting.  It had to be a very difficult and frightening time, but this movement allowed everyone to feel empowered to do their part.

Nearly seventy years later, our country still has soldiers fighting abroad, but thankfully food shortages and rationing are a thing of the past.  However, our current agricultural system has its own flaws that do potentially put our nation at risk. Food today is heavily processed, and shipped from far-flung places, which increases reliance on finite reserves of fossil fuels.  Plus there are the millions of Americans who live in "food deserts," places where they don’t have access to fresh, healthy, affordable food.  With so many left no option but to eat junk food, incidence of obesity and diseases like diabetes are on the rise. We don’t claim to have all of the answers, but it doesn’t seem like we are solving anything by putting our efforts into growing green, well-manicured stretches of Kentucky Bluegrass.  (We’ll avoid shamefully dropping the blog name here.)

You don’t have to dive right in and plant a 400 square-foot garden like we plan to.  Maybe you start with just a couple of rows of your favorite vegetable or a planter box on your patio.  And maybe you don’t know what you’re doing and wind up not getting anything out of it.  Trust us; we’ve had our fair share of miserable failures.  But we’ve always learned from our mistakes, and given it another try.  We’ve tried raising homegrown broccoli for the past three years and haven’t eaten an ounce of it yet.  But each year we’ve gotten a little closer, and maybe this year will be the one.  We can almost taste it.


  1. I'm reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer ('cause I'm a super-cool German-theologian-studying nerd), and in last night's reading they talked about how his family had to move to a different neighborhood in 1930s Berlin so they had room for a garden to feed their family. It wasn't just a hobby then, but a necessity as the German economy collapsed. Thank heavens we don't have that problem today, but it was a pretty intense reality check to think about it!

  2. Hi Stacia & Greg,

    I was perusuing your to see that young people are interested in gardening. I'm a friend of your mom's is how I ran across your blog, I will visit again. I started a website Iowa Made Stuff and there are a couple things you might be interested in, and Both are interesting and both are trying to insure that there are seeds/foods available with no preservatives and are sustainable. I hope you have lots of fun gardening.
    Julie Wessel, Colesburg