Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Plant a Victory Garden in Honor of Independence

For 4th of July, my husband and I decided to plant a vegetable garden. "WHAT? A vegetable garden? How patriotic is that?” you think. Well, during World War I and World War II, Americans were urged by the government and industry to plant their own gardens to support the war effort and to increase the country's food supply, thereby offsetting food shortages and rationing. Because of their importance, these gardens were called "victory gardens." It’s ironic to me that these victory gardens have not been encouraged during the current “War on Terror,” particularly since they could play a role in achieving our independence from fossil fuels.

For further history on Victory Gardens, visit http://www.victoryseeds.com/TheVictoryGarden/page2.html

For wonderful examples of these World War I and World War II Victory Garden Posters, check out Ohio Historical Society

Growing our own vegetables is a small action that we can take to reduce global warming and fossil fuel use. Believe it or not, the modern industrial agricultural sector contributes a significant portion of the world's greenhouse gases. According to Edward Goldsmith's 2003 report "How to feed people under a regime of Climate Change," modern industrial agriculture is responsible for 25% of the world's carbon dioxide emisions, 60% of methane gas emissions, and 80% of nitrous oxide."

Furthemore, according to his report,

  • The most energy-intensive components of modern industrial agriculture are
    the production of nitrogen fertiliser, farm machinery, and pumped

  • To produce a ton of cereals or vegetables by means of modern agriculture
    requires 6 to 10 times more energy than it does by using sustainable
    agricultural methods.

  • Oil is required not only to build and operate tractors, to produce and use
    fertilizers, but also to package and transport food to markets.

  • Transport in general accounts for on eighth of world oil consumption, and
    the transport of food is a considerable slice of that.

  • 127 calories of energy (aviation fuel) are needed to transport 1 calorie of
    lettuce across the Atlantic.
Goldsmith's article is well worth reading and can be found at http://www.culturechange.org/how_to_Goldsmith.html

By organically growing our own vegetables, we can help reduce the fuel used in transporting the vegetables and eliminate the nitrous oxide emissions that would result from chemically fertilizing them.

Growing our own vegetables, especially organically, also has wonderful health benefits. According to theveggielady.com,

research shows that organic gardening increases the
antioxidant levels in food and that these antioxidants

  • Can lessen joint and muscle pain
  • Can reduce inflammation
  • Help slow the aging process
  • Can prevent or slow the growth of some cancerous tumors
  • Delay the onset, or slow the progression, of Type 2 diabetes

For more information about organic gardening and sustainable agriculture, visit


The Guardian - Ethical Living




The next best option for those who do not have the time or energy to plant themselves is to buy locally produced foods. For those living in New York, the site below may help you find local farmers' markets.


If you have more information about how to obtain, locally produced food in other areas, I'd really appreciate it, and love to add it to my blog.


A Suburban Princess