Lawn & Garden Month: Grow a Garden, Take a Stand
By Amanda Crow, Guest Contributor
April is National Lawn and Garden month. I began this series for the month with an introduction of my focus – the Food Not Lawns movement. Read about that here.
Growing gardens instead of wasting energy and resources on lawn maintenance is a seemingly simple act, but gardens can be a strong political statement. It is hard to imagine that growing food could be so significant…beyond the immediate benefit. In the US there have been two major gardening movements that are both considered political statements while having quite different motives.
When the US joined World War II in the 1940s, a Victory Garden campaign was put forth. It encouraged people to grow their own food as resources were redirected to the war. Victory gardens were not only a “morale booster” but also a strong political statement. People supported the war, so growing such victory gardens was a clear sign of solidarity and contribution. The outcome of this campaign proves what a collective action can accomplish quickly. Twenty million Americans participated, and they produced up to 41 percent of fruits and vegetables consumed per year. Are you kidding me? 6.6% of the population in the 1940s produced almost half of its needs!
It is ironic how planting a garden today is a political statement in the opposite sense. Gardens can be a strong stance against the system…a rejection of the corporate food systems and distributors that exploit animals and humans in horrendous ways just for the sake of profits. Not surprisingly, one in three grocery dollars is spent at Wal-Mart. A collective group of people growing their own food could even be a serious threat to that ultra-mega corporation.
What stands out to me the most is what a huge difference a small force of people can make. Twenty million people seems like a lot, but when it is put in perspective of total population, under 7% is nothing. This movement need only grow a small amount to make a huge impact on industry. So take a stance, help your community, and turn a stagnant plot of land into a flourishing garden, because that itself is a political statement.
Photo credit: National Archives and Records Administration