YOUR Victory Garden – Controlling the Food Budget While Getting Good Nutrition!
Remember the stories you heard about the World War II home front? Perhaps your parents or your grandparents can explain the rationing that took place here in the US during the War. Looking back, it seems that the people at home understood that sacrifices had to be made in order to make sure the war effort was getting the attention and resources it needed.
A way of life for several years, each family was issued ration cards. While some food items were scarce, others did not require rationing, and Americans adjusted accordingly. “Red Stamp” rationing covered all meats, butter, fat, and oils, and with some exceptions, cheese. Each person was allowed a certain amount of points weekly with expiration dates to consider. “Blue Stamp” rationing covered canned, bottled, frozen fruits and vegetables, plus juices and dry beans, and such processed foods as soups, baby food and ketchup.
Labor and transportation shortages made it hard to harvest and move fruits and vegetables to market. So, the government turned to its citizens and encouraged them to plant “Victory Gardens.” They wanted individuals to provide their own fruits and vegetables. Nearly 20 million Americans answered the call. They planted gardens in backyards, empty lots and even city rooftops. Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives. Farm families, of course, had been planting gardens and preserving produce for generations. Now, their urban cousins, even the schools, got into the act. All in the name of patriotism.
When the war ended, people stopped gardening and then, since farm production was not fully up to speed, there were shortages again. I know my father who was raised in Brooklyn, New York, started our family garden when they moved to our New Jersey subdivision in 1953. He was the one who nurtured the veggies, while my mom, who had grown up on a chicken farm in New Jersey, took responsibility only for her rhubarb and chives. My urban father was the family farmer.
The concept of growing your own food does not need a lot of space. One suburban family has dedicated its front yard to food production, but perhaps this is not your aesthetic cup of tea. How about a few raised beds built on to a small condo patio? Or a planter wall?
So, I am not suggesting we can provide all our own food with a few baskets and pots, but you CAN get involved in the growing process, teach your children where food actually comes from and help them to eat more nutritionally, understand better the challenges of the weather and other issues that can cause loss, and, in time, harvest some of the best tasting produce you have ever had!