By Holly Shanks
The United States is facing a challenging time. The simple task of going to the grocery store has become stressful for many as bare shelves, empty meat cases and rationing have greeted frustrated shoppers.
But this is not the first challenge our society has faced when it comes to food and supply shortages. During World War II, our parents and grandparents faced even harder situations and within longer periods of time.
Ordinary citizens were encouraged to grow gardens in backyards, vacant lots, rooftops and any available unused accessible areas. They were dubbed “Victory Gardens” and according to a story in the Farmers’ Almanac, there were tens of millions of “Victory Gardens” planted during WWII, which produced millions of tons of fresh veggies and fruits to help combat food shortages.
Now, a slew of information is currently being published about a possible resurgence of interest in “Victory Gardens.”
Now, in full disclosure, I grew up in an area where everyone planted large gardens and canned and preserved the harvest for use during winter months. The idea of growing our own food without an over-dependence on grocery stores is something the current situation has pushed to the forefront. And is an idea that has made me think my experience and know-how of growing one’s own food and/or raising animals for food is something I have been taking for-granted.
Why do I feel I’ve taken my experiences for-granted? Because it has become apparent that many of my friends and neighbors did not grow up in families that gardened, nor do they have the slightest idea how to get started in growing a garden for food.
I’m hearing comments from almost all of my friends and family that going to the store is somewhat scary. One issue is, of course, trying not to catch this virus, but also scary because as Americans we are not used to seeing shortages, rationing or empty shelves where we shop for supplies.
It has become so involved trying to find toilet paper that a friend of mine created a Facebook Group Page, “St. Louis MO TP Search.” It now has nearly 600 members. Each day as members go out to search for supplies, they post pictures and information about what areas and stores have stocked specific items overnight, like toilet paper, cleaning wipes, soaps, meat, fresh veggies, etc.
We are stuck in this situation for the short-term, but its SPRING TIME! And we can all jump in (if you have the space and means) and produce a few fresh items for ourselves, our families and our neighbors.
I’ve provided information via links listed below on how to plan, prepare and grow a “Corona Victory Garden.” Visit a local nursery or contact a local gardening club/organization to find a wealth of information to help with your questions and learning experiences. (A quick google search should bring up a number of local nurseries and gardening outlets in your area.)
Good luck and happy gardening! Remember, we are all in this together – stay safe and healthy!
Check out the stories and resources about the “Victory Garden” resurgence below.
- St. Louis Post Dispatch – Now’s A Perfect Time To Grow A Victory Garden And Here’s How To Do It
- Farmers’ Almanac – Should We Bring Back Victory Gardens
- New York Times – Food Supply Anxiety Brings Back Victory Gardens
- Home Depot Gardening Club – 7 Steps To Growing A Victory Garden
- Kiss the Ground Podcast – The Return Of The Victory Garden
- LA Times – A Happy Little Miracle In Dark Times: The Plant Nursery Business Is Booming
- Mother Earth News – 9 First Crops For Your Coronavirus Victory Garden
- Home, Garden and Homestead – How To Start A Victory Garden 2.0
- Gateway Greening – Local St. Louis organization promoting community gardening and urban agriculture