The St. James Tearoom’s theme for the month of April is “Victory Garden” – a look back at an effort that brought families, and communities together in the past, but also an effort that is actively being pursued even today to push our society forward.
Most people think of World War II when they hear about Victory Gardens, but actually the concept of Victory Garden started in World War I, when food production had suffered immensely from the devastation of farmlands and the recruitment of agricultural labor for military service.
In March of 1917, Charles Lathrop Pack organized the National War Garden Commission in England to encourage planting gardens and preserving produce. In World War II, the concept was continued and expanded by government, posters, and periodicals such as Life Magazine and Saturday Evening Post.
By planting your own Victory Garden, you could be a real part of the war effort. In 1943 there were 315,000 pressure cookers sold in the US (used for canning fruits and vegetables), compared to 66,000 in 1942, an amazing response! There were community gardens, rooftop gardens, and tiny backyard gardens. Even Eleanor Roosevelt insisted on digging up the White House lawn to plant one. It was a way for individuals to contribute, to do one’s part and make a difference.g gardens and preserving produce. In World War II, the concept was continued and expanded by government, posters, and periodicals such as Life Magazine and Saturday Evening Post.
There are still many reasons for a Victory Garden today. Sometimes, one simply needs a spot of beauty, of quiet and serenity. Nothing better than a garden for this! My friend Tami and I were discussing the distressing blast of ugliness that can threaten to drown us at times. She said, “My solution to the muck, etc is to find the small spot of BEAUTIFUL and focus on that.”
She went out into her garden and sent me photos of snowdrops pushing their way into this world. Talk about finding a way to make a difference! It made a difference in my day!
Next week I am meeting my dear friends Frank and Julie at our lovely Botanic Gardens for a walk together. We decided this would be a delightful way to spend an hour together, walking and talking surrounded by beauty and good growing things.
Victory Gardens are and have always been a part of a war effort – a way to fight against something, and a way to fight for something. Many folks complain long and loudly about the unhealthy practices of large-scale agriculture business. Others pick up a spade, find some dirt, and go out and do something about it for their own families and communities.
If you want to see an encouraging example of a current Victory Garden, go to www.neighborsbuildingbrightmoor.org. Here is a small community in Detroit that is fighting back and winning – very inspiring!
Good things are worth fighting for, whether it is keeping your kitchen organized, maintaining a safe neighborhood, growing your own healthy vegetables, or creating a small spot of BEAUTIFUL; we will fight for what we treasure. Victory Gardening – a gentle, a lovely way to do it!
“All noble things are difficult” Oswald Chambers
Yours for the return to Grace, Civility, Beauty, Gentility, and Excellence,