New Kinds of Victory Gardens

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Victory Garden Program. Secretary Plowing Boston Common 04/11/1944
Victory Garden Program. Secretary Plowing Boston Common 04/11/1944. Courtesy U.S. National Archives.

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of victory gardens. As Wikipedia explains it:

Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens become a part of daily life on the home front.

It’s easy to see how something as simple as a garden played a role in winning a major conflict. With people producing more of the food they needed to survive themselves, they bought less food from the food supply system

Today, people need a different kind of victory. A majority of Americans are at a financial point where missing a single paycheck would cause financial problems. This is a war of a new kind – a war against personal debt and the freedoms that it steals from us.

Just as with that previous war, a “victory garden” can provide both a morale boost and can provide tangible assistance to solving the problem.

Why am I mentioning this in September? Right now is a good time to actually start thinking about a garden for next year. For one, lots of gardening supplies are on sale, as they’re viewed as seasonal items by many stores. For another, thinking about it now gives you plenty of time to start figuring out where you’ll plant and what you’ll plant.

Yet, a physical garden is just one kind of “victory garden.” After all, a garden, in its most general sense, is a space set aside for preservation and growth.

You can have your own “victory garden” even if you never plow a single square foot. All you need to do is set aside some space in your life to use solely for preservation and for growth for the future.

Set aside an hour or two each day as your personal “victory garden” and fill that time with the planting of “seeds” for the future. Build genuine friendships with people. Work on starting your own business. Work on large-scale frugality projects, like making bulk meals in advance. The possibilities are endless.

Just as with a “real” garden, your own victory garden won’t necessarily show you results right off the bat. Instead, they’ll grow slowly and sprout over time if you tend to them. Some of them won’t grow at all and some will wither for unexpected reasons.

Still, invest that time and energy and you’ll find that more than a few things grow into a wonderful harvest in your life.

Plant your own victory garden, real or otherwise. Let things grow in it, and enjoy the pride that your harvest brings to you.

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