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!