Did you know that vegetables can put tires on vehicles and provide fuel? Yep. They can, and they did. During the First World War, people all over were encouraged to grow their own vegetables in order to save those grown by commercial farms for our troops. By doing so, fewer cross country trips were made by trucks shipping goods, which meant there was less wear and tear on tires and less fuel used. Consequently, there were more tires and fuel available for the troops’ vehicles. I knew vegetables were ‘super foods’, but I never knew they were this good!
I am, and always have been fascinated by the basic principles of the Victory Gardens on WWI and WWII. It amazes me that it wasn’t just the farmers and rural population that were growing them. Urban dwellers used their flower beds or back yards, apartment dwellers used their patios or window boxes. Cities used available lots, and even some parks were dedicated to the movement. I can imagine that multiple local food sources such as these meant that although most grew the foods that their families would eat, they also grew extra or a little something different to use as barter with other gardeners.
Ingenuity was the word of the day. Because some items, such as flour, sugar, coffee and dairy products were heavily rationed, people needed to come up with other ways to sweeten their foods, or work around the need for these hard-to-get items. The bottom line is, there wasn’t an overabundance of food to go around, yet people seemed to survive.
It makes me wonder about us in today’s world. We have a tendency to take access to food for granted. The idea of getting dirty in a garden is enough to give some people the shudders for days. Yet, they complain about the cost of fuel, the expense of feeding their families and the lines in the drive thru and restaurants. (I guess y’all can just imagine how hard it was for me to grit my teeth and not start WWIII when I heard a woman complaining to her friend about that just the other day, can’t you?)
My world has changed considerably recently, and I am now able to stay home four days a week (mostly) and work from home – and that doesn’t count Saturdays and Sundays. One of the first things I did while trying to establish a new routine is figure out what I had available in my pantry, refrigerator and freezers. I made a short grocery list, and several rough drafts of menus. Not having to drive to work anymore meant that I can actually save money on my fuel bill and wear and tear on my vehicle. Those savings can easily translate to things I need here on the farm, like fencing, chickens, seeds, chickens, tractor parts, chickens, an automatic milker and more chickens. Having all of those things mean that I can further my cause to feed my family from what I produce on the farm. The idea of having all that food here, yet choosing to stand in line waiting for a table at a restaurant is enough to give this Farm Wife…yep, you guessed it…the shudders for days.
I, for one, did a Victory Garden Dance just the other day. While working in the garden, I noticed that I have baby tomatoes. This morning I did another one. After last night’s light rain, I noticed that my plants seemed to have grown three to six inches overnight. That means it isn’t too far down the road that I will be having to can green beans, pickles, pickle relish, Creole Sauce, Pesto and prep peppers for the freezer. Oh, yeah. And make a few batches of vegetable soup for this winter.
Ready for your own Victory Dance? Do yourself a favor. Grow a garden. No room? Plant herbs or a tomato plant in a flowerbed or in a pot put in a sunny location. Do you live in an apartment? See if there is the space availability to do a roof-top garden, or contact your local government to see if there is a community garden located nearby. If they tell you no, start a campaign to get one started. The bottom line is, if you learn to grow a garden, you’ll never have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, and you may just be able to help the neighbor down the road feed their family, as well.
Victory in vegetables. Now that is something to dance to!!!