Victory Gardens

Victory gardens - if you’re in your 80’s or older you’d know what they are because you lived with the necessity to have them. Fast forward to today - If there was a survival imperative, either because of a restraint of supply or because of your health, COULD YOU GROW YOUR OWN FOOD TO SURVIVE or would you go hungry?

Food security

These days it is of great concern to Western Governments that our food comes from the economic enterprise of one to two percent of the population who are farmers. The other ninety eight percent or thereabouts rely on the ongoing capability of the few. It would take only a small catastrophe, related to supply or transport, to disrupt our regular food supplies.

Our personal reliance on such a vulnerable food production and supply system is the weak link in our survival kit but most of us are not aware of this. It’s not on our radars and not even on our TV screens.

In these unstable times, the knowledge of how to grow your own food to survive is an imperative.

Growing food to survive

In both previous World Wars such an imperative existed. Governments appropriated fresh produce to feed the men fighting overseas. With international trade disrupted, mass migration of men to the frontline and mobilization of factories to meet the necessities of war, women were left to feed the remaining population.

The United States began the Victory Garden campaign in World War 1 and continued it before, during and after World War 2. Great Britain started their Victory Garden scheme one month after entering World War 2.

In Australia, Prime Minister John Curtin launched the ‘Dig for Victory’ in 1942.

On quarter acre house blocks, each family was expected to grow food for themselves and for others not so fortunate; it was urban agriculture on a huge scale, long before urban agriculture was part of modern lexicon. When this last happened in the 1940’s, more than 50% of the Australian population had a home vegetable garden with at least a few fruit trees, so there was a good knowledge base spread throughout suburbia. Every second person was capable of mentoring someone else into growing food in their backyard.

During the wars people needed to grow their own food and so food gardens sprouted up everywhere. Governments encouraged this and developed inspiring posters and community support activities. From these gardens families fed themselves. They shared the produce and in doing so created cohesive communities.

These were the Victory Gardens.

Smaller gardens, bigger TVs

But the quarter acre block is a luxury now that few young families can afford. Apartments with no gardens and courtyard homes/split blocks with a metre or garden space are the new norm. Quarter acre house blocks are being subdivided for units and garden areas are rapidly shrinking. Yet our houses and TV’s are getting bigger. We step outside onto tiny paved areas to see a few token flowers!

Unless you own a decent sized country property, there is little chance of being self-sufficient in your own “backyard”. Add to this the enormous knowledge gap on how to grow food and a societal obsession with cleanliness and you have a food security time bomb waiting to happen.

Right now, your belly may be feeling the pangs of insecurity. Governments know how fragile our food security system is and so should you.

An Urban Revolution: New Victory Gardens

In ‘modern’ times, growing your own fruit and veggies is victory over everything within the current food production and supply system that produces poor quality, non-local food. An organic-biodynamic food production system provides victory over pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, lack of nutrient dense food, chemical fertilizers, mining of the soil in farming, food miles, genetically modified seeds, corporate control of the food supply chain, multi-national domination of seed genetics and supply together with sovereignty over your own food.

Reason enough surely to grow your own food.

More and more, people are questioning the source of their food and how it has been grown. We are seeing a strong ground swell of people now growing their own fruit and vegetables. Community gardens are springing up in many council areas, catering for those who don’t have garden space and who wish to join the urban revolution.

Let us help you!

An ideal victory garden is an integrated food system using waste plant residues, manures, small animals like chickens, fruit trees, berry bushes, vines, garden beds, composting and seed saving for next year. Having just one or more elements of this is a step toward victory and Vital Veggies can help you build a victory garden like this.

After installing each food garden, one of our foundation objectives is to educate and mentor the new garden owner, if they so desire. We want to help them become a proficient, self-reliant owner of their new “victory” garden.

Roger from Vital Veggies explaining about tomatoes to a client.

For some new food garden owners, we service their garden every fortnight. Every detail of a garden service is recorded and service notes are emailed to them. After one year, the garden owner has a template for self-managing their own veggie victory garden.

In a web of economic life so finely balanced on everything in the supply chain functioning correctly, a Vital Veggies Victory Garden ensures your supply chain is located between the back fence and the back door. Taking a step to having your own food garden will lead to greater food security and a much happier, healthier belly.

Join the urban revolution, grow your own, and feed your soul.

For further reading:

Grow your own Victory Garden

In our August/September 2017 newsletter, we shared the story of the Victory Garden (VG) movement. Victory Gardens evolved as a necessity of wartime austerity - the troops tookfirst precedent to large swags of the food supply that would normally be available for home consumption. Local food supplies were also disrupted when ships carrying supplies were lost in action. Rationing of food was the norm.

The good old days?

In the original Victory Garden movement, most people lived on Australia’s famous quarter acre blocks. This was a primary requisite for the VG initiative – space for a veggie patch, a compost bin in the corner, chooks for eggs, a few fruit trees, and even room for a goat for milk. Kitchen scraps were always dug back into the garden and there was a neat line of preserves on the pantry shelf.

Every aspect of this picture depended on people having the knowledge and time to do this. Women were the primary home keepers back then and often established a home garden to stretch the household budget further. They were also the preservers of excess crop production. The majority of women didn’t earn income from jobs.

Different times…different food

We all know for the vast proportion of the Aussie population these days, few of these factors prevail. In fact, you are considered quite different if you grow your own food today. It was the norm up until the 1950’s, less common in the 1960’s and so it progressed to the 21st century where apartment blocks and courtyard homes now mean you may be lucky to have a windowsill on which to grow some food.

In the 21st century, most fresh food is grown on factory farms. In Australia, for vegetables that means chemical farming to the extreme. For example, all mass commercial vegetables are sprayed weekly with a pesticide or fungicide that has a “skull and bones” on the can. The soil is no better than a hydroponic medium within which the roots are immersed, and most nutrition comes from the fertilisers applied by the farmer. There is nothing sustainable about this. It relies on large inputs of petro-chemicals and petro-fuels. This kind of farming burns soil carbon and grows food that is lacking in taste and nutrients. Soil loss is a guaranteed outcome with continual mining of the soil.

Food is essential to life, and high-quality fresh food is essential to good health. We urge you to reject the poor quality food you think of as ‘normal’ and rediscover food that has real taste, vitality and life-enhancing properties.

Commercially grown tomatoes versus home grown tomatoes…which would you prefer?

To grow and eat nutrient dense organic food is a personal victory over not only the profit-based chemical agricultural system, but also the over-burdened medical system.

The change from organic to chemical agriculture

There was a time where all food production was organic simply because there were no chemicals, fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. It wasn’t until quite recently, the late 19th and early 20th century, that chemical agriculture was being touted as superior to the ways of organic growing. Organic farming, with its primary focus on soil fertility, crop rotations, manures, composts, rock dust fertilisation and even the ancient practices like “singing” into water to give it vitality got seen as the ‘slow’ way. And the industrial revolution was speeding things up. More quick profits could be made by using quick-fix chemicals against pests and diseases and artificial fertilisers to speed growth. So the widespread adoption of chemical agriculture proceeded at great pace.

Organic agriculture gave quality. The new agriculture gave quantity.

The new ‘normal’

There were some who stood back and commented on how the two agricultures were not equal.

As far back as 1894, Julius Hensel published a book called “Bread from Stones”. As an agricultural scientist and miller, he’d observed the beneficial effects of basalt rock dust on farm produce. But his book and ideas represented the “old” agriculture and presented an affront to the key proponents of the “new” chemical agriculture. His observations and clear explanations challenged the money-making activities of the rising industrial barons of Germany and they set about discrediting, prosecuting and then burning every one of his books.

In 1924, Austrian Dr. Rudolf Steiner held a series of lectures that were the result of many farmers’ concerns about the declining quality of the food being grown. His series of lectures set out the guidelines for an agriculture that went on to be called ‘biodynamics’ – a system that produces food of highest quality. According to Steiner, the consumption of biodynamic produce would give consumers ‘willpower and good health’. He had observed that food from chemical agriculture was watery, and resulted in wishy washy people. Now, some 93 years on, how wishy washy have we become? We simply don’t know any better. Poor quality food is today’s ‘normal’, and modern agriculture has no concern for improving the health-giving benefits of its produce.

Food is medicine

Hippocrates stated: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Yet surprisingly many people don’t make the connection between the nutrient poor food they consume and their health problems. You may think you are eating healthy but our new ‘normal’ may actually be contributing to the rise in diseases and health problems.

After decades of decline, we no longer remember what vibrant health is like and have surrendered our health to a system that actually promotes dis-ease. And its only when disease strikes that we start investigating and looking for remedies. It is then that we discover the poor quality of the food we’ve consumed all our life, our body’s ‘fuel’, is the key to our state of health. But did your GP tell you that?

Taking action

The threats from conventional agriculture are chemical residues, an agriculture that is mining the soil, food devoid of taste and nutrients, a reliance on the long supply chains to remain functional, declining seed genetics and possible genetic modification or pollination with GM material and then simply, the profitability of this system.

Our home gardens give us the chance to redress this situation. Home grown, organically produced food is far superior in taste and nutrition because a healthy soil will produce healthy food, which in turn gives good health.

If you don’t have a patch of earth, get some raised beds or courtyard pots, fill them with Vital Veggies soil and grow some nutrient dense greens. Try growing sprouts on your kitchen window. Source the rest of your fresh food from organic markets.

Growing your own food at home, or in a community garden gives you control. By shifting your money and allegiance away from mass-produced chemical-based agriculture and investing it into growing your own, you will regain sovereignty over the quality of your food and health. These are the new Victory Gardens.