By Jay North
In the mid-1940s the United States government asked the people to plant edible gardens to help support the downwardly spiraling economy and the war effort.
During that time millions of people all over the country planted gardens called “Victory Gardens” and harvested nearly one-third of all the vegetables consumed in the country. Gardening became a popular family or community effort planting vegetables, herbs and fruit trees.
With the current state of economic uncertainty, many people are again looking for ways to not only stretch their food dollars but to avoid the high cost of healthcare by making better lifestyle choices, and so the idea of organic victory gardens is growing in popularity.
Now, even Michelle Obama is setting an example by planting a food garden at the White House, as did Eleanor Roosevelt in 1943 during another time of national crisis. It was reported in national news, in Eleanor’s time; some 20 million people grew their own food to help relieve the food shortages of WWII. While Michelle Obama’s 1,000-square-foot Organic Vegetables garden will help to provide food for the first family’s meals and possibly even formal dinners, she also talked about the garden as a means to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruits and vegetables. With the growing national concern about obesity and diabetes especially among our children, more physical activities and better natural food choices should be encouraged. Creating and maintaining an organic garden perfectly fits that prescription.
When you think about it, growing your own food becomes part of the solution to many growing problems associated with modern living, such as global warming and reducing your carbon footprint. Many people today are concerned about the foods they buy in the supermarkets, what kind of chemicals were used, how far has the food traveled to reach the shelves in the store and how long has it been there.
Growing your own organic food can be fun and healthy. Not only is it great physical exercise and a way to slow down and reconnect with the environment, but it provides an opportunity to take full control of what you put into your body.
Organic gardening is nothing new. It was once the only way to farm. We then began to depend on chemicals and other unnatural methods to grow more, bigger and better. Many of us suffer needlessly from health disorders associated with chemicals, steroids and other unnatural additives to soil, water and food. Organic farming doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or quantity of product. You will find that, since organic farming replenishes the soil rather than robs it of nutrients, eliminates build-up of chemical products and allows for growing massive amounts of lush, healthy, pest-free produce, your yield will be the same, if not better, than with other methods of farming.
When starting a garden or farm or converting an existing garden or farm into a healthy, productive and natural source of organically grown produce, there is always something new to learn that makes for a great new hobby.
There are few greater satisfactions than slicing a fresh, juicy tomato and putting it on your sandwich, preparing a salad and knowing all the ingredients came from your own backyard, or picking fresh organic beans for a hearty dinner meal.
Starting a successful organic vegetable garden may take some know-how and some help in getting started, and practice that may span over several seasons, but don’t become discouraged if you make some mistakes, because we all learn from our mistakes. You will find that organic gardening may become the most rewarding hobby, or lifestyle, you have ever started and shared with your family and neighbors.
For many organic growers, farming or gardening is a passion. We feel a connection to the Earth and believe it has become a moral duty to protect her and provide for her. Aside from the apparently spiritual affiliation, it’s just plain fun to be out in the sun playing in the dirt and watching things grow.
Jay North, a pioneer in the organic farming industry, authored Getting Started In Organic Gardening for Fun And Profit as a means of sharing his philosophy of renewal and self-sustained living.An internationally recognized authority in organic gardening, he may be contacted at www.GoingOrganic.com.