Monday, November 30, 2009

Victory Gardens

Tough times call for people to rally together for the common good. One of many examples of this during the World Wars were the victory gardens, where those at home were called to get planting to reduce strain on food supplies for the war effort. Gardens sprung up in backyards and vacant lots, churches and playgrounds.
Today, gardening is seeing a renaissance of sorts. In my conversations about DOT (the Saatchi & Saatchi Do One Thing personal sustainability practices), gardening is an example that keeps cropping up again and again. No wonder, considering its many benefits – great for the environment, for exercising, for healthy eating and saving money. It’s even reached the White House, which under the Obamas is seeing its first vegetable patch since the days of Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in WWII. And Saatchi & Saatchi New York’s Blue team are designing their own rooftop garden at our 375 Hudson St headquarters.

Holly Hirshberg saw the effect of the recession beginning to hit people’s pantries and decided to help others grow their own food. Inspired by the victory gardens, she started giving away seeds to anyone who asked through her website The Dinner Garden. "The Dinner Garden isn't just about the seeds," she says. "It is about giving people hope… creating communities where families spend time together in a productive way and children learn that they can create something beautiful and useful to their family." The idea snowballed, and since the project started in early 2009 her team has provided seeds to almost 14,000 families in 42 states. A victory indeed!

In other gardening and sustainability related news – it seems the xixi no banho (pee in the shower) idea is taking off in a different way – the grand country house Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire is encouraging its garden workers to relieve themselves on straw bales alongside compost heaps to save water and help the composting process!


Anonymous said...

Gardens are awesome. I had a garden for a couple of summers in college and benefited greatly. An older man (a WWII hero) I knew had a garden plot he no longer used so he let me use it and he taught me how to garden in the process. It taught me to have patience in the growing process (my own, particularly), that a little time in nature and dirt is a healthy break each day, and that spending time with my elders is a valuable endeavor (perhaps more valuable than a textbook).

Charlotte said...

I love the previous post. Me too, gardening is quite a thrill for me now that I'm finally doing it. I love going out into the family garden and picking a salad with my son. And I too am learning to be patient and to trust, trust that good will come from the seeds I've planted, and that nature's got is sussed, if we allow her do get on with the job. I find gardening such a powerful reminder to hang-in there and remain optimistic about the future.

Megan said...

Gardening, particularly vege gardening, has certainly seen a fantastic revival here in NZ. My children and I have learned the art of gardening together. There are so many opportunities for people to come together in, for and around gardens. Thanks to my son's enthusiasm for his vege plot he got his kindy gardening, then more recently his school.

Don't underestimate the power of gardening - of being part of creating something for yourself, for others, and with others.

Megan said...

I should also add a comment re: weeing in the shower, or on hay bales or whatever. In gardening circles urinating on lemon trees, beans, peas and a variety of other veges helps vege growth enormously - much to the chagrin of my five year old son.