the michigan victory garden campaign

I’ve mentioned Victory Gardens here a few times before. They came into vogue during the Second World War, when, unlike now, American citizens had been asked to sacrifice at home so that a war could be fought and won. People were asked to grow their own produce. Every carrot not eaten here, after all, was a carrot that could be canned and sent to our soldiers, and every gallon of gas that wasn’t spent hauling produce to your grocer was a gallon that could be poured into a bomber making runs into enemy territory. I’ll have to call my grandmother later to verify this, but I don’t suspect there was much complaining about it. People just did what they had to do. They knew that freedom hung in the balance. So, women got together at night and sewed blankets for our solders, kids collected scrap metal that could be used to make planes, and families, by and large, played by the rationing rules. And, a hell of a lot of them started gardening.

An estimated 20 million Americans took part in the Victory Garden initiative, and, according to Wikipedia, they produced nearly 40% of the vegetable produce consumed in the nation. Vacant lots were commandeered, as were roofs and patios. Even sections of Golden gate Park in San Francisco were cultivated… For those interested, a great 1940’s newsreel on the initiative can be found at Archive.org.

I love the story. I love the fact that there was a time when Americans pulled together and sacrificed for the greater good. There’s something very romantic and appealing about that, especially in a time when we all feel so disconnected from our neighbors and our communities (and, for that matter, the earth).

It wasn’t exactly an original idea, as Amy Franceschini, who I’ve told you about here before, had been doing something similar in San Francisco, but I started wondering whether or not it might be feasible to kick off a national campaign around the new Victory Garden, focusing on, instead of war, the fuel consumed in shipping produce from Honduras and hauling it from Mexico, and what it costs us, environmentally speaking. “Victory Gardens against Global Warming,” has a nice ring to it, I think. (I suspect there are a lot of people out there, like me, who are looking for real, tangible ways to join in the fight against global warming, and it would be great to give them something to do.)

So, I had a beer a few days ago with my friend Amanda, the Director of the local pro-gardening organization Growing Hope, and we talked about rolling out a southeast Michigan pilot program. (I’ve since also exchanged notes with Amy Franceschini and it sounds as though she’s planning to take her program outside of San Francisco shortly, so the two initiatives could dovetail nicely.) Of course, as it’s already April 24, it doesn’t leave us much time for this year, but here’s the idea, in a nutshell.

We launch a Michigan-specific Victory Garden site, which includes video tutorials (like that one I showed you a little while ago on indoor composting) on building raised vegetable beds, planting, etc. All the plans will be available for free, however, if people wanted to, they could also purchase components (cedar for the raised beds, worm castings, soil, seeds, etc) from Growing Hope. The key thing is that we’d have everything laid out very clearly for the new gardeners among us. We’d do the research as to which vegetable varieties work best in our climate, and we’d suggest a mix of plants. (Maybe the seeds would be available for free, if we could get donations to cover them.) The main thing is that we’d have a simple Do-It_Yourself starter kit… Like I said, we’re getting into this really late, but we think it’s still possible. So, this next week we’ll be exploring it some more, and then we’ll decide to either do it now or hold off for a season… If you have thoughts, or if you’d like to join the team, let me know. If we do get this off the ground, we’ll need a ton of help with everything from the building of demo gardens and packaging seeds to launching a website and shooting video.

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40 Comments

  1. dorothy
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    this was a very peculiar time in our history. i remember everyone being united in a common goal—-absolutely no one complained. compared to now, there was no infighting and no political debates. there was no such thing as red or blue. the danger was palpable and permeated evey moment of life. even as a child, i didn’t have the feeling that “the good guys will win,” there was this dread that maybe we’d all wind up speaking german. we had a summer home in atlantic city and walking on the boardwalk at night was a chilling experience—there were huge curtains erected so that the u-boats couldn’t see the shoreline, and every day oil washed up on the beach from sunken ships. at night there were air raid drills in which we had to turn all lights out and hide in an inner room. the war in iraq is an academic discussion in this country and no one here has any idea of what it really means to fight for your life. if the tiny little things that implanted in my mind from the 40’s made such an impression, think what it must mean to have the bombs dropping in your backyard.

  2. ypsi oneworlder
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    “the danger was palpable and permeated evey moment of life”.

    That seems to be a problem, no sense of danger. We read about polar bears not surviving the ice melting…and that we won’t have any seafood in 20 yrs… but we don’t see it.

    I personally think that’s a great idea Mark. not sure people are ready for it! I personally would love to see those old gardens that are pictured in the historic photos of the area around the old depot,restored –didn’t they even have chickens and such. (fantasy)

    But I think its a terrific idea. I take it folks that volunteer would get a ‘share’ of produce? LOL You can count me in. Let’s talk about it before or after the film at the Brewery on Cuba/oil/power down — ?

  3. Posted April 24, 2007 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Amanda knows this is an idea that I am strongly supportive of. The community gardens that are springing up all over Ypsilanti (initiated by GH or by neighbors) I think are also evidence of how desperate we are to feel a connection with the earth, as well as our neighbors. It’s an idea whose time has come. I am a ready and willing volunteer–or hey, I’m looking for a job–let’s write a grant and I’ll run the thing. I’ve been farming since I was age 10. (I grew up working on a farm right outside Atlantic City, btw, and I’ve never heard that story of curtains along the boardwalk before…chilling image.)

    Incidentally, for ideas of what can be achieved in terms of the re-localization of food production, come out tonight to the Corner Brewery and see the film, The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. The story of how Cuba re-invented its local farming base thru just such a Victory Garden approach should be informative.

  4. Dave Morris
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Hey Mark. There is a program in Seattle that you might be interested in looking at for ideas. They call them “P-Patches”, short for Picardo Patch. The idea is to purchase vacant land within the city, assign plots to interested gardeners, and build a sense of community through shared skills and volunteer hours.

    I have grown vegetables in my backyard in the past, but this year decided to get a seasonal plot at Picardo Patch. It has been great so far. There is a shed for shairing tools. Each person buys a seasonal water right and can water as much as needed. There are a few bee hives that people tend, There are a number of composting stations. They are trying out an outdoor composting toilet this year too.

    Most of the produce is donated to local food banks from the P-Patches. In the fall, a few gourmet chefs come out and work with the gardeners to cook a dinner at the garden.

    The best part is the exchange of information and community connections.

    If you and / or Amanda are interested, I can put you in touch with Rich at Picardo. He is a really nice guy and may have some helpful suggestions for your community gardening project as well as how to acquire land if you decide to go that route

    Here is their site:

    http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/ppatch/.

  5. Dr. Cherry
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Mark’s a regular Hazen S. “Potato Patch” Pingree!

  6. muppster
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    mark, let’s set a date. how about friday 5/4 in the early evening time for a big workday to get this stuff all together? then we can have time to get the materials together, and people can come and make a workday (well, workevening) out of it…. and how about a meeting for all those interested at Corner Brewery this Thursday, April 26, 8 pm?

  7. dr. teddy glass
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    There’s probably a great opportunity to build an online community of victory gardeners too, especially the first-time gardeners who are approaching it due to their beliefs concerning politics, the environment and community.

  8. Hillary
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    You might be able to get some help from DAN.
    http://detroitagriculture.org/
    Their garden resource program provides compost, top soil, tilling, seeds, transplants, workshops, and technical assistance to 141 family gardens, 84 community gardens and 15 schools.

  9. Posted April 24, 2007 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I grew up on the produce from a former victory garden that my family just kept going until about a decade ago (we were in that house from 1917 until it was sold a decade ago). We planted everything from lettuce, onions, carrots (my favorite at Thansgiving was the last batch of carrots from the garden), strawberries, beans. We canned pears from the pear tree. I never thought it unusual, although other folks from SE Michigan that I knew from U-M never had something like that in their suburbian neighborhoods.

  10. Posted April 24, 2007 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Victory gardens are even more interesting and go further back. Government and cultural leaders promoted them in World War I so that domestic crop production could go to Europe. Guess who led the charge? Herbert Hoover.

  11. murph
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I’m all for it, and will help out however I can.

    I don’t know about the metaphor, though – “Victory Gardens” imply that, when we’ve won, we can go back to business as usual, that this hardship is just temporary, and we’re saving up karma points to use in post-war extravagance. See, for example, Lizabeth Cohen’s “A Consumers’ Republic” for discussion of various wartime voluntary hardships – people were willing to pitch in, planting gardens, accepting rationing, and recycling, but always with the expectation that it would be shortlived. War bonds were bought with the expectation that there’d be all sorts of stuff to spend them on in the war-kickstarted economy.

    With a Victory Garden against Global Warming, there is no post-war return to “normalcy” to look forward to – a return to what we were doing means going right back to war. Our Victory Gardens have to be permanent, which means more focus on normalizing the practice, over time making it just something you do, rather than a special effort.

  12. mark
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Way to bring everyone down, Murph. Thanks.

    And I’d like to thank everyone else for your comments. They’re all helpful. As for a meeting, I think Amanda’s unavailable until Tuesday of next week or so. I’ll find out and post something here… Now I’m going to go and follow up on all of the leads that you’ve left. Thanks.

  13. mark
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    And, in all seriousness, I get what you mean, Murph, about it having to be a permanent shift in the way we think about community, agriculture, etc. I just don’t think we need to scare everyone from day-one. I don’t think that approach will work. At least it hasn’t worked historically.

  14. egpenet
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Great article in last week’s NYT’s Magazine about how the Farm Bill should be called the Food Bill … that what the Government subsidizes are the crops that are used to make the foods that are killing us.

  15. mark
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    That piece, I believe, was written by the fellow who wrote “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” I bookmarked it to read later and then forgot about it. I’ll see if I can find the link. Thanks for reminding me, Ed.

  16. Posted April 24, 2007 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    That was a fantastic article. From landscape to foreign policy to school lunches, the plague of cheap corn affects multiple aspects of our lives. It was written by Michael Pollan, as you noted, Mark. I love his writing — mostly on the politics of food, but also other books, such as A Place of My Own, in which he builds a writing studio for himself.

    I hope you’ll post when you will meet, if not Thursday. I’d love to help with the victory garden idea.

  17. murph
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Sorry, not trying to be a total downer – just trying to say that, if we want this to be any wider than the people who are already gardening or inclined to garden, the marketing of it needs some thought. What do people get out of it, if not a faster “victory” and sooner return to “normalcy”. I think there are plenty of good reasons and real benefits, ranging from nutrition to friendship to an added margin of freedom and household security – but those benefits have to be focused on for an open-ended project to draw interest, rather than looking to clearly temporary sacrificial movements as a immediately applicable template.

  18. ol' e cross
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I like the idea of getting individuals to take ownership of the problem, but, for me, backyard gardening seems pretty far down the list of solutions. Especially until some university steps up and does an impartial analysis of the consumption rates of a million amateur gardeners running their hoses vs. efficient, large-scale farming.

    I’d rather launch a wholesale assault on bottled water. I would eagerly aid in that campaign.

  19. dr. teddy glass
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s an ‘either or’ thing. Pursuing a home garden wouldn’t keep someone from also giving up bottled water. As for the water used in home gardening, I’d find it hard to believe that it would be worse, in terms of total impact on the environment, than trucking carrots in from California. Also, we could suggest that, when possible, people use rain barrels to collect water for use in their gardens.

  20. Posted April 25, 2007 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Michael Pollan archives all of his articles online. It’s a fantastic resource, especially now that the NYT is behind a pay-to-view firewall. The most recent one is at http://www.michaelpollan.com/article.php?id=88 . I also highly recommend his book “Second Nature” – it’s funny, it’s much shorter and easily digested than “Omnivore’s Dilemma”, and it’s a great introduction to gardening.

    And speaking of community gardening, when is Ypsi-Dixit going to come back to blog? I miss her. :-(

    Anyway, someone on her site recommended a fascinating (well, to me, since I live here in Saline) book on a farm co-op – Saline Valley Farms – that was here from 1932-1953. The SDL has a photo archive from it here: http://images.umdl.umich.edu/cgi/i/image/image-idx?c=sdlsvf

  21. Posted April 25, 2007 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    We just posted another video with a couple who quit their jobs in Manhattan and are now building a community hotel in NM.
    http://ryanishungry.com/2007/04/22/wendy-tremayne-and-mikey-sklar-green-pioneers/
    It’s not about “dropping out” but starting to get sustainable for whatever happens in the future.

  22. ol' e cross
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I like gardening. I’ve had a garden as long as I’ve had land to stick stuff in. But I try to be suspect of ascribing global benefit to something I naturally enjoy. Trees, to my understanding, provide much greater climate relief than zucchini. They’re bigger, have longer seasons, provide habitat for critters, and give energy-saving shade to homes. Couldn’t clear-cutting gardeners be seen as enemies of climate-saving urban forestation (I’ve cut back branches so my peppers get sunkissed). Honestly, wouldn’t it be best if we filled our yards with shady oaks? Maybe gardening is a solution to global warming, but I’d like to go on more than hunches. I’d like some old-fashioned scientific analysis. Until then, I’ll keep gardening and assume my primary benefit is sun-warmed tomatoes.

  23. Posted April 25, 2007 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Let’s fill our downtowns and parks with fruit trees and our yards with vegetable gardens. I’ve long had a secret yen to do guerilla planting of native wildflowers and trees. The last tree we planted got weed-wacked, a danger of rogue planting.

    And, incidentally, large-scale farming is FAR from “efficient,” as Wendell Berry writes about. Problems include erosion of topsoil, depletion of soil fertility, use of mono-cropping with its attendant pest problems, the loss of genetic diversity of food crops, water pollution by pesticides (which can be found now on remote Aleutian islands due to ocean currents), dumping of excess grain on other cultures’ markets, artificially depressed food prices, and the list goes on. That’s just off the top of my head.

  24. Posted April 25, 2007 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    “Couldn’t clear-cutting gardeners be seen as enemies of climate-saving urban forestation”

    Definitely, but I think there are a lot of lawns or overgrown ‘waste areas’ that could be turned into summer food producing gardens. In addition to the local produce, you would do away with mowing, which is a big waste of time & energy. Even with a non-polluting reel mower.

    BTW, I would love to include links instead of urls, but I can figure out how in this format. Help anyone?

  25. murph
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Ol’ (an’ Crotchety) E Cross, I’d like you to find me one person – just one – in Ypsilanti who is *optimally* “green”. Okay, now I’d like you to find me one person whose ecological footprint couldn’t be improved by growing more of their own food.

    I’m betting you can’t find me either, but you’re just presenting the perfect as enemy of the good for the sport of it. Sure, there are tradeoffs and opportunity costs involved. However, I’m betting that everybody in town could find a spot to grow a little bit of food. Considering that more than a calorie of fossil energy is spent on every calorie of food energy (see, e.g. Michael Pollan as previously cited), I think there’s plenty of good that could be done before we start seeing backyard gardening causing damage. (OTOH, if you’d care to demonstrate the making of acorn flour from those shady oaks covering your optimally green backyard, I won’t turn down the invite.)

    But I try to be suspect of ascribing global benefit to something I naturally enjoy.

    See, I think your real problem is your puritanism. Dude – open up and let yourself enjoy it. That’s what I’m saying above, re marketing this as sacrifice and austerity being off the mark. It doesn’t have to hurt to be good – and just because you enjoy it doesn’t mean it’s bad for the world.

  26. egpenet
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    It would be fun to dash into Kroger’s with a big crowd and wrap the interior aisles with red duct tape … since all the REAL FOOD, veggies, meats, cheeses, milk, etc. are around the perimeter of the store and hard to get to … and tell people that all the stuff in the center of the store is poisoned! Then, run out.

  27. Cousins Vinyl
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    For those of us who read this blog and are somewhat like-minded, we probably already garden. I do – and if anything, this initiative will make me want to have a better garden this year in case a fellow gardener stops by and I can show off how sweet mine is.

    It also might force me to eat more vegetables, and MAYBE my increase in vegetable eating would replace some of the food I might buy at Krogers – at the very least the massivly overpriced vegetables they sell there.

    Another problem here is the fact that studies have shown that people in Ypsilanti have some of the worst dieting habits in Washtenaw county. HEALTH is another big issue here. Let’s add that to the whole campaign: that eating fresh vegetables is pretty much the best food for you.

    With that in mind, let’s also consider reaching out to those in our community that could benefit most from healthier eating habits, that same population that probably doesn’t already garden every summer. That’s when those Do-It-Yourself starter kits would come in handy. I am pretty sure that Growing Hope makes a strong effort to do this already.

    One more thing: could we have a system where we could donate or deliver excess vegetables to those in need? Like a daily drop off vegetable stand on Michigan Ave? I know I always get a little excited at the beginning of spring and end up with enough zucchini to feed all of Canada.

    I think that this is a very cool idea! I’m already thinking about how sweet I’m going to make my garden this year.

  28. murph
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Cousins –

    re, donate or deliver excess veggies

    Check out Plant A Row For The Hungry: http://www.growinghope.net/projects/plantarow.shtml

    This past year, Plant A Row collected something crazy like 12,000 lbs of produce from gardens across the County.

  29. Cousins Vinyl
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Cool, thanks Murph, I will go check it out.

  30. egpenet
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Eating REAL food also produces less unrecycleable garbage. Any inedibles from REAL food are easily composted … corn husks, seeds, pits. Even stale foods need not be wasted, since birds and other critters delight in our cast-offs. Bones from chickens and pigs (ham bones excepted) are NOT good for our dogs, especially those bones tossed from car windows along our streets. But beef bones, particularly marrow bones, even after they’ve been boiled for soup or broth, are OK for doggies to chew.

    That said about less waste with REAL food: less garbage may also imply less waist.

  31. ol' e cross
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    I am crotchedy. I really am. But am I really the only one who cares what the comparable impact of gardening on the environment really is?

    How much will a million Americans sanitizing jars and boiling veggies on their various appliances reduce their collective footprint? Doesn’t anyone else want to know? Some big farms are wasteful, but what about a decent, organic farmer? Do amatuers like me waste less? If I boil my jars a few minutes longer than absolutely necessary, it’ll cost me a few cents. If a factory routinely does the same, it’ll cost them tens-of-thousands.

    Murph, you’re right, I can’t find one person who I can show wouldn’t reduce their footprint. But that’s because I’ve been unable to find anyone who can show me what the footprint of the home gardener is. I just want U-M to tell me how much each uses so I can evaluate the actual, not assumed, benefit.

    Besides, crotchedy, I can also be Putitanical, for sure. But not in this case. I’m the one saying I garden because I like the taste of warm, homegrown tomatoes. I’m not saying grow tomatoes to save the world. My tomatoes are hedonistically tasty and I like the carnal feel of plucking those fruits from the vine.

    Honestly friends, I love to garden and will love it more if someone can show me how much energy gardening/canning uses vs. buying from Eden. If the goal is really to start a campaign to reduce global warming, shouldn’t we factually know whether trees, gardens or Kraft Foods best accomplishes that goal? We know Kraft is bad, we don’t know how bad we may or may not be.

    Sorry all, my crotchedy is itchy.

  32. murph
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    While I certainly respect your insistence on getting the facts, that sound you hear is the world baking while it waits for me to have a spare 5-10 years to spend on an ag policy phd program. I’ve looked in the past, and I’ve never found a life cycle analysis of gardening vs. farming that would meet your rigorous demand for The Truth. (Especially once we start pulling in things like the opportunity cost of planting shade trees to cool your house.)

    If you’re interested, though, I’d be willing to meet up on the journals floor of Halle, say this Saturday? 1pmish? and see how much of an LCA we can cobble together from existing research…

    I am myself pretty satisfied with just an intuitive listing of individual factors:

    Transportation energy: Kraft – high, Cascadian Farms – high, my garden – zero.

    Chemical fertilizer manufacturing and embedded energy: Kraft – high, Cascadian Farms – low, my garden – zero.

    Water removed from rivers, aquifers, etc: Kraft – high, Cascadian Farms – high, my garden – low (once I get my rainbarrels going…)

    Energy for preserving (canning / freezing): Kraft – moderate to high, Cascadian Farms – moderate to high, my garden – high.

    Energy involved in producing packaging for preserving: Kraft – high, Cascadian Farms – high, my garden – low (using Mason jars 10 times vs. melting and remaking even a recyclable commercial container).

    For my part, I’m pretty satisfied that the energy scale is tipped severely in the direction of the garden winning, making up for a lot in terms of what one more shade tree would save.

    And, in the meantime, I can supplement my home production with local production (the lamb in my freezer and half CSA-share, both from Chelsea), local & mostly-organic farms being another good alternative to commodity food production.

  33. Dr. Cherry
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Hillary and I don’t garden for direct political causes but we did perform a bit of a cost-benefit analysis on the process.

    The cost is higher to produce and can our own vegetables but we gain benefits of higher-quality organic, preservative-free produce.

    We also know that buying products from far-away places means more trucks on the road and more trucks mean a greater demand for roads. Which leads to more sprawling cities.

    We started by analyzing the canned food we buy at the grocery store and worked toward replacing it with our own canning. Some of it from our garden, some from local farmers.

    This allows us to also buy locally produced food for canning which takes the personal garden out of the picture and adds to the local agriculture options, which we’re going to need going forward.

  34. Ol' E Cross
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Murph (Mark/all),

    Looks like you’re right. I finally found more productive web/library-journal search terms and subsequently found a relevant study and some promising leads. Home canning uses about twice the energy as factory canning, but, as Murph suggested, the extra energy is more than made up for by factories’ one-night-stand packaging (so long as home-canners reuse ball jars five times or more).

    I’ll be unavailable to follow up right away, but will do more research when I can and will try piece together a credible summary. Hopefully, I’ll be able to provide Vic Gardens some mildly credible number to use in a campaign. (It’s always more persausive to say “our sub has 6 grams of fat vs. their sub’s six-hundred” than just to say “their sub is fatty.”)

    Unfortunately, I’m better at the marketing end of things. If there’s any actual researchers out there, please take the lead. It seems like a worth while study. I’m finding that most of the needed data is floating out there, it just needs to be compiled in some meaningful way.

  35. mark
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    How does next Thursday evening at the brewery sound to the rest of you?

  36. egpenet
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Freezing and drying is even more efficient for home than canning. Besides that, while factory stuff is OK, it really ISN’T due to the salts and other preservatives used.

    The real test of a self-sufficient family is learning to enjoy what IS available seasonally and living without the Florida corn and other off-season imports. Eating only what’s available seasonally is a real eye-opener to one’s local environment and builds a real appreciation for all that your locale DOES provide.

    Then, there’s the ambitious gardener with hot-house/greenhouse and hydroponics growing year’round in their basements. That’s works, too.

  37. schutzman
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    If you’re really interested in resurrecting beneficial world war II era agricultural programs, I don’t understand why you’re stopping at victory gardens:

    Hemp for Victory

  38. Steve Bean
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    There are also ‘savings’ at the other end of the long-distance food transaction by not contributing to the exploitation of other populations and destruction of their environment and low-energy local food systems.

  39. Mika
    Posted May 6, 2007 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Hi,
    I stumbled onto this site after doing a search for a community garden in MI. that allows members to plant nonannual plants (fruit trees!).
    Promoting the ‘victory garden’ and proving the tools to do so is a terrific idea. So often I’ve felt tempted to tell my nieghbor that they have plenty of room for a couple fruit trees or to resist planting trees in vacant lots.

  40. Lisa
    Posted May 6, 2007 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting how an idea sort of takes off, and lots of different people start thinking the same thing at the same time. At some point about 6 months ago, I figured out how a small intentional community (plus some other neighbors) might be able to support a farmer producing food on an urban plot of land. It seemed to work out pretty well, in my figures at least.

    Has anybody here tried pawpaw fruit? “It has a flavor somewhat similar to both banana and mango, varying significantly by cultivar, and has more protein than most fruits.” (from wikipedia). THAT’S what kind of tree I would plant. I was talking to a friend about eating locally and what Michigan fruit might substitute for bananas – could this be it???

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