Note: We are most grateful to the Victory Garden Foundation for permission to re-post the following. There’s amazing information here, so take a few minutes to read and enjoy!
I love to grow food. I also love to eat the tasty, nutritious food that I grow! In addition to the joy I reap from growing and eating the vegetables from my own garden I also believe that edible gardening is an essential and vital survival skill. For example, in hard times during the war in the 1940s, Victory Gardens sprung up all over the country as a way of helping people survive. The government encouraged people to come together and rally their resources, including their gardens. In fact, in 1944, Americans produced 40% of their food from Victory Gardens because much of the existing food supply was shuffled to the soldiers in the war. This left the people in the U.S. with a food supply shortage and people sprung to action!
Now in 2012 we are facing a similar crisis. With the climate changes, diminishing food supply, and the threat that genetically engineered crops have on our food diversity and health, there is even more of a reason to learn and prepare.
So, what can we do? One powerful action is to ensure that there is good, healthy organic food on your table. I understand that it is not reasonable to expect that everyone grow their own food at home. That is okay! Collaborating with neighbors, knowing your local farmer, sourcing your ingredients from your community are all inexpensive actions you can take to supplement your grocery bill and ensure your health. Now THAT is resilience.
What about active living? Are you able to give yourself some type of daily exercise? Walking, riding a bike, or making your garden your gym are all fun and delightful ways to take action. Did you know that some of the moves you do in the garden are equivalent to weight training in the gym? The way you approach shoveling or sweeping should be the same as if you were doing a set of lunges. If you’re using your tools properly; you are working your muscles and avoiding injury.
How do you prepare yourself and family for a time when you need to save money or respond to a disaster? Where and how do you learn about overcoming these challenges? There are many resources and ways to learn more. Here are a few of my favorites:
Learn to garden! Learn your climate! I encourage you to get to know when vegetable plants grow best in your ‘normal/average’ climate. Then when the weather is winter when it is actually spring or in summer you are experiencing spring, adjust accordingly. Wait for a few days or weeks before planting your spring crop if the weather isn’t cooperating. Or, consider utilizing cover to protect your plants during ‘sketchy’ weather patterns. Also, considering growing your plants from seeds indoors. Give them a head-start and protect them from unpredictable weather patterns. Please remember, you may need to transplant the seedlings into larger pots and wait until the weather is just right to plant outside.
Garden together! Do you want to grow food at home; but do not have the space outdoors? Ask a neighbor! Perhaps they will share their garden space with you. Consider replacing some of your lawn or gardening in pots on the cement sidewalk or walkway. Really, you can almost garden anywhere Here are a couple of resources to look into:
Join an open community garden – no plot assignments. Everyone works together to grow and harvest the food. Chat with the participating volunteers about different ways to overcome climate challenges.
Attend free classes about gardening, lifestyle changes, and selecting locally grown foods. Learn what foods grow in a particular season and select those to supplement your edible garden. Learn more about resilience and sustain living at the Spring of Sustainability discussions: http://springofsustainability.com/schedule/2
Learn to sprout seeds. http://www.victorygardenfoundation.org/apps/documents/
This is one of the fastest ways to grow your nutritious food right indoors with only the space of a jar needed.
Connect with a transition organization to learn more about transitioning to resilient and sustainable living. Locate a transition organization in your community at Transition US: www.TransitionUS.org . Two very active groups in East Bay California are Transition Albany: www.transitionalbany.org and Transition Berkeley: www.transitionberkeley.com.
(For Marin County http://transitionmv.wordpress.com/)
Contact our community partners to ask how you may get involved. These are on-the-ground, in your neighborhood organizations dedicated to improving local policies for food justice, food access, bringing organic food access to the community, and teaching how to be resilient. You’ll find them at www.VictoryGardenFoundation.org.
While the times may appear challenging and at times frightening there is much each one of us can do today to build our resilience. Our resilience is our strength. Another way is by taking action and being counted in the 2012 Victory Garden Transition Challenge! At the least, you’ll receive non-GMO seeds to start growing your food today!
How will you prepare and cultivate resilience?