PBS has titled their very successful gardening show “The Victory Garden." The show has been immensely popular for over thirty seasons, it is America's oldest gardening program (circa 1975) - an offshoot of "This Old House"… but what is the derivation, the context for this name?
During World War I and World War II, the United States government asked its citizens to plant gardens in order to support the war effort. Millions of people planted gardens. In 1943, Americans planted over 20 million Victory Gardens. The harvest accounted for nearly a third of all the vegetables consumed in the country that year. Emphasis was placed on making gardening a family or community effort -- not a drudgery, but a pastime, and a national duty.
This effort was echoed north of the USA in Canada, across “the pond” in England and even “down under” in Australia.
Examples in NYC…
Children gardening on the rooftops of Manhattan
Gardening on Central Park West
Gardening in housing developments
Today, with concern for our environment, (reducing the food miles associated with the average American meal) and the advocation of growing more food locally, and organically there is a movement toward reconsidering our “old school” ways.