Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To Everything, There is a Season

...and it is now our turn.

This is a photo of a victory garden in front of San Francisco's City Hall, taken in 1943.

Sound like an outdated idea? Think again. Slow Food has created it anew.

Food security in this time of economic fragility is becoming an increasingly important issue. It is time now to take the Victory Garden beyond the SF City Hall--to our own yards, and also to the White House.

Did you see Michael Pollan's marvelous and detailed article in the New York Times?

Here is some of what he said:

When Eleanor Roosevelt did something similar in 1943, she helped start a Victory Garden movement that ended up making a substantial contribution to feeding the nation in wartime.... By the end of the war, more than 20 million home gardens were supplying 40 percent of the produce consumed in America.

The president should throw his support behind a new Victory Garden movement, this one seeking “victory” over three critical challenges we face today: high food prices, poor diets and a sedentary population. Eating from this, the shortest food chain of all, offers anyone with a patch of land a way to reduce their fossil-fuel consumption and help fight climate change. (We should offer grants to cities to build allotment gardens for people without access to land.)

Just as important, Victory Gardens offer a way to enlist Americans, in body as well as mind, in the work of feeding themselves and changing the food system — something more ennobling, surely, than merely asking them to shop a little differently.

...As deeply as Americans feel about their lawns, the agrarian ideal runs deeper still, and making this particular plot of American land productive, especially if the First Family gets out there and pulls weeds now and again, will provide an image even more stirring than that of a pretty lawn: the image of stewardship of the land, of self-reliance and of making the most of local sunlight to feed one’s family and community. The fact that surplus produce from the South Lawn Victory Garden (and there will be literally tons of it) will be offered to regional food banks will make its own eloquent statement.

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I love this photo-shopped pic of Pollan, courtesy of Kitchen Gardeners International:


Michelle Ellis said...

I completely agree with Pollan. However, for the president to do what he asks, he would have to admit that there is going to be a long term economic crisis and I have yet to hear him admit to anything. From what I keep hearing, now that this economic package is approved, we can live like normal again or at least normal is on it's way.

I'm glad at least Pollan made a public plea and it was in the NYT.(:

Lazuli said...

I always enjoy your food posts and this one was no exception. That NYT article is definitely on my "to read when I take a break from work to read the news" list.

Amy said...

What a great picture!

Green Bean said...

A Victory Garden would do so many great things. It would also get us outside, make us appreciate and understand our climate and the insects and animals that inhabit it. It would get our children reconnected with nature. It would help decrease overall carbon emissions.

I visited the new Victory Garden in front of SF City Hall. It is beautiful beyond words.


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