This is a powerful example of what we can do now, to help change our world:
During World War I, citizens of the United States and Canada planted liberty gardens as a war-relief effort. In early 1917, Charles Lathrop Pack (who ironically was originally from Michigan), founded the National War Garden Commission. Through a campaign of posters, cartoons, press releases, and pamphlets, the commission strove to “arouse the patriots of America to the importance of putting all idle land to work, to teach them how to do it, and to educate them to conserve by canning and drying all food that they could not use while fresh.” Their posters blazoned phrases such as “Will You Have a Part in Victory?” “Every War Garden a Peace Plant,” “Sow the Seeds of Victory.” President Woodrow Wilson “called for every American to contribute in the war to establish democracy and human rights.” In a proclamation, the president told Americans, “Everyone who creates or cultivates a garden helps…This is the time for America to correct her unpardonable fault of wastefulness and extravagance.” This is an early example of a presidential administration facing the facts regarding wasted capital, and taking action to stop the waste. They recaptured and reallocated funds and invested in a campaign for a new structure to better serve the nation and win the war.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture formed a committee on public information to help plant “a million new backyard and vacant lot gardens.” It was thought that gardens would not only feed America so that we could send food abroad, but also that they would help us save on fuel and transportation.2 Gardens helping to save on fuel and transportation. What a concept! (Have you noticed recently, a greater awareness of the call for locally grown food?)
But the garden movement did not stop there. During World War II, the Victory Gardens produced nearly half the produce supply in the United States. Nearly 20 million people planted gardens in their yards and neighborhoods. This massive movement took place before the use of television, cell phones and the Internet.3 Imagine what could be done in this day and age if people around the world planted their own food to cut down on their monthly bills and feed their families.
As of September, 2019, more than 66,000 residential and community gardens across the United States and abroad had joined the Urban Farming Global Food Chain®. The gardens are located in urban, suburban, and (as we like to say) “rurban”—rural—areas all around the world.
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