March 16, 2022
Show of hands – who planted a “Covid Victory Garden” in 2020? If you raised your hand, you’re one of 21 million other new gardeners in the United States who first dug two years ago.
As a pandemic gardener, you are now preparing for your third growing season in 2022. I’m curious: have you thought about Why you started gardening vs why you plan to continue? Have your motivations changed? Have you discovered other reasons to garden or have you narrowed your goal?
The notion of a victory garden is not a new concept and it originated during World War I when our nation ran out of supplies. The government has encouraged people to plant crops at home to reduce pressure on the national food supply. Victory Gardens were seen as a patriotic and civic duty, a means of both supporting troops on the front lines while ensuring our homeland a steady supply of food.
Victory Gardens declined in the peacetime 1920s and saw a resurgence in the 1930s with the Great Depression. As people lost their jobs and their money, they turned to gardening to supplement their personal food supply. These gardeners grew up during World War II, when it is estimated that around 40% of the country’s food supply came from Victory Gardens.
Gardening saw a similar resurgence in March 2020 as concerns over supply chain disruption and access to food erupted overnight. We didn’t know what our world would look like today, two years later. Supply chains and logistics continue to fluctuate, inflation is on the rise, and there is significant and terrible violence in the world as Russia invades Ukraine. We live in a global economy and we are already feeling the impact of this conflict, both economically and emotionally.
I’ve often thought that gardens have superpowers. Gardens are selfless, giving and nurturing. They ground us in times of stress and give us purpose in times of confusion. They help us mark the passage of time when the 24-hour news cycle becomes too much to bear. Gardens are a space to find peace, bond with loved ones, and empower us to be more resilient in the face of uncertainty. They are repositories of perpetual hope if we allow ourselves to see it and be it.