The Victory Garden that Mom or Grandma carefully tended is probably not there any longer; nevertheless the underlying principle still remains, and with the increased emphasis on sustainability, nutrition, and quality of life, items such as tomato cages runner-bean tepees, and potted herbs have become almost commonplace in many cities and towns. Sure, I admit that driving down a quiet tree-lined suburban street of manicured front lawns, pristine-white picket fences, and the requisite clematis climbing up the mail-box post (or street lamp) is enjoyable, nevertheless the site of corn and artichokes plants carefully and skillfully integrated within a perennial bed of peonies, boxwood, and shrub roses, quickens my pulse for here is someone who ‘gets it.’
‘Getting it’ for myself and many others means finally realizing how easy it is to convert a small area of a suburban yard or garden plot into something which provides hours of enjoyment in growing our own food; gets us out of the house-from another episode of the pouty, moronic Kim K. and her equally questionable siblings—to being outdoors and the enjoyment of nature, some physical exercise, and the opportunity to bond with next-door neighbors over something much more meaningful than a gripe session about the lack of speed-bumps, and the rising price of gas. Also means more of the grocery budget gets to say at home, and perhaps one less trip to the chain grocery store for flavorless monster vegetables grown in hothouses hundreds of miles away, picked by hands insufficiently compensated by health insurance, or protected by judicious labor laws. Also means buying less of produce grown under the spray of pesticides and herbicides which wreck havoc on birds, bees, and butterflies. Not to mention the pickers and packers who endure something just short of chemical genocide.
Starting with the vision of Alice Waters and others who advocated for the pure simplicity of fresh food; small organic farms, as well as farmer’s markets where the dignity, pride, and love of the earth is celebrated; farm-to-table restaurants that demonstrate a commitment to the food-cycle and its intersection with our life-cycle; proponents of a healthier diet such as Michelle Obama, Prince Charles and home-town pioneer Nora Pouillon, keep reminding us that bigger is not better, it all starts at home, and nothing compares to the taste of earth’s fresh bounty. It seems that this could be our victory against expanding waistlines, higher health insurance premiums, and our dependence on petroleum used to move food products over long distances.
It all starts with awareness, then motivation, and finally actualization. And a pack of seeds or a flat of seedlings, and a watering can. Victory is then clearly at hand. Or sprouting across the land.
Enjoy today’s visual treat.