But to do this successfully, we need to do it as a community where we share tools and labor, provide support and back-up for one when the other is away or out of commission, watering, weeding, and taking care of each other's gardens. We grow a row for the food shelves, homeless shelters, or the person next door whose situation won't allow them to garden. We do neighborhood greenhouses, neighborhood root cellars, and do so as neighbors, sharing food and camaraderie.
We even have an example of this kind of community-oriented gardening culture from the not too distant past to inspire us with, in the persons of our parents and grandparents who had Victory Gardens in World War II. According to Wessels Living History Farm, Nearly 20 million Americans had Victory Gardens. "They planted gardens in backyards, empty lots and even city rooftops. Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives...." Wessels goes on to observe that, "In 1943, families bought 315,000 pressure cookers...compared to 66,000 in 1942." The US Department of Agriculture estimated that the amount of fruit and vegetables harvested in these home and community plots was around 9-10 million tons, an amount equal to all commercial production of fresh vegetables.
Those are impressive figures. And they're very suggestive of what we, as a people, can do for ourselves once we put our collective minds to it.
So please join us at the River Garden on April 24. The only reason not to be is if you're out in your own plot, preparing your garden for the coming season!
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