Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veterans Day and Victory Gardens

Happy Veterans Day from communEATi!
This week, the communEATi team would like to take the time to focus on a very special November holiday: Veterans Day. It might not be the most fun holiday in November, but Veterans Day is incredibly important to our nation as it gives us the opportunity to honor and thank those who have served in our Armed Forces in a way that will never be able to match the risks they’ve faced.

The celebration of Veterans Day began after World War I as a way to commemorate the ceasefire that occurred November 11, 1918 between the Allied nations and Germany that ended the war that was to end all wars. Less than 25 years later, the United States would enter into World War II and, once again, call upon its citizens to become veterans.

As has happened in other times of conflict, the American people rallied and riveted, doing everything they could on the homefront during these world wars in an effort to help their loved ones overseas. Part of this effort came in the form of Victory Gardens.

How Homegrown Foods Aided the War Effort
Victory Gardens, also called war gardens, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks during World War I and World War II in order to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Posters and ads were everywhere, urging citizens to “Dig On for Victory;” trains, which would normally transport goods between states, were now being used to transport soldiers; and canned vegetables, which could be sent overseas, were rationed. Besides indirectly aiding the war effort, these gardens were also considered a civil morale booster because gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor.

At their peak, there were more than 20 million Victory Gardens planted across the United States. People with no yards planted small gardens in window boxes or larger rooftop gardens, and many schools across the country planted them on their school grounds and used the produce in school lunches. By 1944, Victory Gardens were responsible for producing 40% of all vegetables grown in the US.

Many different types of vegetables were grown in Victory Gardens: tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, beets, and peas, to name a few. Victory Gardens are also considered responsible for bringing Swiss chard and kohlrabi (a type of cabbage) onto the American dinner table because they were easy to grow.

Victory Gardens Today
While Victory Gardens lost their steam after World War II, there are efforts to revive the movement today. Victory Garden Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering communities to grow their own food, sees the new Victory Gardens as a fight of their own: “We are fighting for food security and the health of our ecosystems. We are fighting for resilient communities that support one another and for strong local economies,” their website states. And Food Not Lawns, an all-volunteer organization, works to educate communities about the health and economic benefits of using your yard for gardening, not landscaping.

The benefits of Victory Gardens - and their modern-day equivalents - definitely seem worth the effort. So if you plan on getting a modern-day Victory Garden up and running, you should really get to know communEATi; we’ll help you make the most of those homegrown goodies!

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