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Introducing The FoodShed Planet Victory Garden Drive!

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:12am

It's time to share with you my Big Idea. It got all stirred up again inside me last week when I wrote about how the Dogwood Festival wouldn't be at Piedmont Park in Atlanta this year because of the drought, and the only other time it hasn't been there in its 72-year-history was during World War II.

The mention of World War II took me right back to what got me going six years ago on gardening in the first place (me, someone who doesn't like to hover who thought gardening would be nothing but work, work, work!) The day after 9/11/01, I walked aimlessly around my local Publix wondering if our food supply would be hit by terrorists. I thought for sure it wouldn't be long before our government asked us to plant Victory Gardens in order to increase food security, just as two million Americans planted Victory Gardens during WWII so that manufactured food could be sent to the troops overseas.

Our issues are different today. Yes, food security against terrorism is critical but we also have reduced food security due to the continual incidence of tainted food from factory farms and feedlots. We're fighting the war on obesity. GMOs. Reliance on petroleum -based transportation and products such as fertilizers. Health-impairment from pesticides and other toxicities. A shocking drop-off, in just one generation, of what's called "earth skills," or the ability to sustain our own lives in nature. Even the lack of preparedness of children in science and math, skills that are central to jobs in emerging technologies and our changing global marketplace. Why are our politicians not talking about these things? Why doesn't anyone realize that the health of the food we eat is central to our lives? Why don't we demand more? Why don't we take back the power of our own destinies, one seed at a time?

And so, again, I am only one person. But I have waited six years. And my government is not encouraging anyone to plant Victory Gardens, even though we all wanted to do something six years ago. We all wanted to feel as if our small efforts could make a difference. We all wanted to work together rather than descend into this downward spiral of negativity and divisiveness that makes up the discourse of today's political environment in my country. And it has nagged at me for so long that I no longer have a choice in this matter. I must now take action.

I ask you to join me in planting a Victory Garden (if you are already a gardener, be a "Companion Planter" and encourage a new gardener through advice, seedlings and other get-started help). Start with your soil now, in January (or when it is workable in your climate--our Southern Hemisphere friends are able to dig right in!). Then start with herbs when it is time to plant (because they are easy and the taste of success, both literally and figuratively, is a powerful motivator!). And let's declare victory over our food supply, once and for all.

The FoodShed Planet Victory Garden Drive

Goal (for without a goal there is no compass on the journey): TWO MILLION NEW GARDENS PLANTED IN 2008. Backyard gardens, community gardens, school gardens, windowsill gardens--they all count. Anywhere on our FoodShed Planet.

Challenge: DESIGN a new Victory Garden poster! Are you a school teacher? Have your class take a stab at it! How about your work buddies? Your neighbors? Have a Victory Garden poster party! Send your designs (size limit: 8.5" by 11") to FoodShed Planet, P.O. Box 88043, Atlanta, GA, 30356, USA. No deadline. Select artwork featured on FoodShed Planet! (The photo featured above is a government-issued design from way back when.)

Sponsor Opportunity: Are you an organic seed or sustainable garden supply company? Would you be willing to offer a 20% or more discount to new gardeners in order to grow your customer base and do good? Promote your business as a sponsor of the FoodShed Planet Victory Garden Drive! Please post a comment or email me at if you are interested!

Add your name in the Comments section below after you plant your garden (first name, screen name, whatever you want) and we will join hands and hoes across our FoodShed Planet. And, together, we will declare victory. If you have a garden blog or start one, add a link to it as well so we can all learn from each other. Check out Kitchen Gardeners International for more backyard gardens around the world (including right near you!) than you can imagine. Start today with a couple of windowsill pots of herbs and you will have taken the first step forward!

Please pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested (including media contacts). And then to those who you think won't. Because on 9/10/01, I wasn't interested. And here I am now.
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