|Home gardening is vital to the security of any nation
During the first and second World Wars, victory gardens were popular in countries on both sides of the fighting. The ability to produce food close to home was considered a vital component of national security, and was recognized as crucial to the war effort. This first half of the twentieth century was clearly different from our own era, in that people from that time period had a deeper awareness of the vital link between food security, the access and national security. More people from that era also knew how to grow their own food, and knew how to raise food without chemicals.
Today, gardens are as vital to national security as they were in 1915. Here is the short list of reasons families should consider making this the year for the Victory Garden:
- Food insecurity is on the rise in the United States and around the world. The graph below shows the prevalence of food insecure household in the United States, as calculated by USDA ERS. It is worth noting that USDA uses a much more stringent definition of food insecurity than global humanitarian agencies. USDA looks primarily at the number of calories consumed, and treats hunger separately from malnutrition. Perhaps this is one reason why so many Americans have sufficient calories but lack sufficient nutrition. The World Health Organization, the Gates Foundation, and others recognize that hunger and nutrition must be tackled simultaneously. (Click here for a recent speech from the Gates Foundation). Families with vegetable gardens on their property or in their community are more likely to have access to food when the economy falters.
- Vegetable gardening protects families against inflation. As a foundational industry, food is a high demand commodity that everyone consumes daily. When food (and related energy) prices increase, so does the cost of everything else. By growing more food at home, families can reduce the effect of inflation on their daily lives.
- Vegetable gardening can reduce healthcare costs. Fresh foods grown organically, close to home, on quality soils are the best source of nutrition. Families that rely year round on processed foods shipped from far away are unlikely to receive the array of nutrients and phytochemicals required to combat disease. Rates of cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses are directly related to the increase in consumption of processed foods and to the decline of small farms and local gardens.
- Gardens restore natural resources. Better soils, cleaner air, cleaner water, and biodiversity are all fostered by the natural growth of plants in an organic garden.
- Fruits and vegetables grown in the garden taste better. Our senses evolved because they helped us adapt to our environment. Fruits and vegetables grown in healthy soil with proper sunlight in a healthy environment have flavors and aromas that are pleasing to us. The absence of flavor is not simply a thing to mask with chemical seasonings. The bland taste of produce sold in modern supermarkets is an alarm telling us that nutrients are missing. When foods are cultivated, harvested, shipped and stored properly, rich flavors indicative of high nutrition are the end result.
One could continue this list with many good reasons for growing food at home. Instead, I will invite our readers to applaud those who are already gardening, and to start drafting plans for a victory garden in your home or your community.