Why We Need a New Victory Garden Movement

Did you know that more than a century ago, people in numerous countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, and Britain, were strongly encouraged to grow fruits and vegetables in their backyards?

These governments urged citizens to develop their gardens, grow their own food, to help with rationing and food shortages caused by resources being stretched with involvement in World War I.

The rallying cry around encouraging citizens to grow their own food: "Food Will Win the War."

The trend continued with World War II, when Americans were growing 20 million victory gardens.

Sadly, after World War II was over, many people abandoned their gardens at the same time as industrial/factory farming was ramping up. Rationing was no longer required.

Victory Gardens Today

We are in a different kind of war today -- not that military conflicts have stopped happening, but this war has more casualties and deaths than any military war.

We are in a nutrition/health war today, where the enemy includes all the big food producers and their lobbyists that influence government policies on food ingredients, food labeling, and food regulations.

When more than two-thirds of the foods in a typical supermarket are basically junk foods that are manipulated to be addictive (using combinations of sugars, fat, and salt) and offer little nutritional value -- including cookies, pies, snacks, crackers, chips, sauces, pastas, breads, juices, sodas, frozen pizzas, pre-made meals -- we have a serious food crisis. (Add the even worse conditions of food deserts in inner cities and Native American reservations, and the situation is even more critical.)

Additionally, when most restaurants, from fast food to fancy, source their raw materials from low-quality, factory-produced meats, fruits, and vegetables -- and when fried foods are cooked in toxic seed oils -- we have a serious food crisis.

Sadly, we are losing this war. Food manufacturers and restaurants go unchecked and we have seen an extremely frightening increase in chronic illnesses and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes).

The new rallying cry? Perhaps one of these will stick:

  • "Growing Your Own Food Will Save Your Life."

  • "Save Your Life: Grow Your Own Farm-acy."

  • "Grow a Garden. Save Your Life."

Victory Gardens Everywhere

The theory is that just about anyone who has housing can have a victory garden, though it is much easier for people who have a patch of land. The three main decisions are: where to grow, what to grow, and how to grow.

Where. Some ideas of locations for victory gardens:

  • Window boxes

  • Front porch pots

  • Rooftops

  • Raised beds (on driveways, patios, etc.)

  • Yards (side benefit: getting rid of useless grass areas)

  • Community gardens

  • Church/Synagogue/Mosque grounds

What. Some ideas for best items to grow:

  • Lettuce

  • Spinach

  • Kale

  • Green Beans

  • Peppers

  • Carrots

  • Cucumbers

  • Squashes

  • Tomatoes

  • Strawberries

  • Raspberries

  • Herbs

Learn more in this article: Healthy Herbs With Amazing Powers That Should be in Your Meals -- and in Your Garden.

How. Keys to successfully growing:

  • Decide on the foods you want to grow

  • Make realistic plans based on amount of space for your garden

  • Use quality soil (test/prepare/amend soil as needed)

  • Obtain quality (heirloom or non-GMO) seeds or starts

  • Plant, water, weed

  • Harvest

Growing at least some of your own food guarantees the quality and freshness of your fruits and vegetables and reduces the amount of money spent at the supermarket.

If you simply can't grow your own food, the next best alternative is supporting others who do -- whether personal friends or local farmers... and only eating the foods when in season. Find farmers and farmers markets in your area.

Final Thoughts on Having Your Own Victory Garden

In my life, one of the highlights of summers is picking my ripe produce -- and snacking on some still warm from the sun before even heading back inside.

Besides enjoying some of the healthiest and freshest foods, gardening has other benefits, including:

  • Reconnecting with nature. Many of us live sedentary, indoor lives -- and having a garden reconnects us with our food, with nature.

  • Obtaining additional exercise. The amount of exercise relates to the size of the garden, but tending to it, pruning, weeding, etc. all count as movement -- and moving is good for us.

  • Vitamin D. Gardening outside (with proper precautions for too much sun) provides us with a natural supply of this important vitamin that helps with improving our immune system, bone density, and much more.

  • Improving mood and memory. Gardening offers many people a boost in mood and a lessening of anxiety, depression. Planning and working the garden has also been shown to improve cognitive functions as well.

  • Empowerment. Growing at least some of your own food is empowering -- you are taking control of your health and wellness and what you eat.

  • Fosters community. Even if you only grow your own food, you might take a master gardening class offered in your community to get growing/canning tips... or, if you're like me, sharing the bounty of the garden with neighbors and/or the local food bank. Of course, if you join a community garden, you immediately have a new community of like-minded people.

What are you waiting for? Why not start thinking and planning your victory garden today?

Additional Gardening Resources

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com.

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.