A lot of people picked up vegetable gardening as a pandemic pastime, but what started as a casual time (and tummy) filler has become a mainstay for many Americans.
According to Green America, an organization focused on encouraging people to grow their own food to fight climate change, offset rising food costs, and get more people to reap the many benefits of spending time outdoors, there are approximately 15,000 “climate victory gardens”
What’s a climate victory garden?
The idea behind climate victory gardens comes from the victory gardens that were planted during World Wars I and II. Millions of families would tend to backyard gardens which, during their peak, supplied Americans with 40 percent of their fresh produce. One of the best ways to fight climate change is to lower our carbon footprints in whatever way we can, so there’s no reason why we can’t, at least in part, strive to grow our own food the way we had in the past.
For a garden to qualify as a climate victory garden, the food campaigns manager at Green America told Treehugger that it must follow “regenerative practices, such as diverse cover-cropping and minimum to no-till practices; [be] free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals; and [help] feed the gardener and pollinators.”
How to start your own climate victory garden
If you want to start your own victory garden but are a beginner and don’t know where to start, then check out Green America’s resources that cover useful information like knowing when to grow, how to start seedlings indoors, and even more advanced topics for experienced gardeners like soil testing, composting, container gardening, supporting pollinators, and much, much more.
They also have a series on gardening for people with disabilities that include a lot of the tips we shared in our article about accessible gardening.
Since Green America’s campaign to get more people to cultivate climate victory gardens, the numbers have almost doubled. According to a press release, the number of registered gardens went from 8,670 to 14,632 so far, and this jump in numbers is doing its part in the climate crisis. “By using climate-friendly, regenerative agriculture techniques, the gardens equate to 4,667 tons of annual carbon drawdown or offsetting the emissions of 39 million miles driven,” that release states.
Once you get your climate victory garden going, you can join the movement by signing up and adding yours to this searchable map.
The darker side of victory gardens
The victory gardens that were planted during World War II addressed the food shortages in the US that were the direct result of the incarceration of American farmers with Japanese heritage—some of the nation’s most productive farmers.
As stated by Green America: “In 1942, Japanese American-owned farms were expected to provide half of the canning tomatoes and 95 percent of all fresh snap beans for the war effort. They were also the primary growers of strawberries for civilian consumption.”
Thus, victory gardens would not have been so badly needed if Japanese American citizens were treated with the respect they deserved.