Last Spring I wrote about naming our small well-intended garden. What I didn’t know then, was the term “Victory Garden” is already taken.
During World War II, nearly 20 million Americans answered the call of duty by participating in the Victory Gardening efforts when government food rationing kept supplies at an all-time low. During this time, the government urged every American Citizen to help food shortages by planting individual gardens in any plot of land they could get their hands on. On April 1, 1944, Franklin Roosevelt issues this request:
“I hope every American who possibly can will grow a victory garden this year. We found out last year that even the small gardens helped.
The total harvest from victory gardens was tremendous. It made the difference between scarcity and abundance. The Department of Agriculture surveys show that 42 percent of the fresh vegetables consumed in 1943 came from victory gardens. This should clearly emphasize the far-reaching importance of the victory garden program.”
I asked my grandmother (“Grams”) about Victory Gardening and she remembers her family growing sugar beets to process for sugar and chicory root to grind in with coffee beans to share during the war. Grams grew up on a farm, so the idea of growing crops to share with others was just part of her life.
What made the Victory Gardening movement so inspiring was the participation of urban residents planting gardens in front yards, backyards, rooftops, and any vacant land they could to help meet the food shortage.
We’re fortunate to not have to worry about gardening to create crops for canning or sharing (for now). Rather, our home garden is a place for the kids and I to get outdoors and spend time together while doing something inspiring, educational and productive.
Recently, as part of her Let’s Move! initiative, Michelle Obama planted the first vegetable garden at the executive mansion since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden. Does she know something I don’t? Or, like me, she most likely finds that teaching kids about where food comes from and encouraging that love of food, is a great way to establish a healthy mindset early in life.
I did feel it was appropriate to rename our garden, and it is now called, “Hope Garden”. And, if- God forbid- duty does call upon us one day, I know this family is willing and ready to take up the challenge of helping the nation… one carrot and beet at a time.
Read more about the Spilsbury Hope Garden:
And recently, we did a campaign with SheStreams TV to create a pizza garden with the kids in celebration of the Disney Epcot Flower & Garden Festival going on now through May 20th. Check out the video here: