Just as there is nothing new underthe sun, the concepts of small plot garden-ing and eating local foods are not originalideas. The Grow Food, Grow Hope gar-dens built throughout Clinton County weredesigned using tried and true gardening practices such as raised bed gardens and thesquare foot gardening method. And just asthe concept is not new, neither is the needfor small plots of gardens! Gardening athome or on a piece of community property occurs for a range of reasons, sometimesbecause it is easy, a hobby, or just because itis necessary. Many of our garden partici-pants are involved for various reasons as well, to get outside, build community, grow their own food, help offset grocery bills, orto feel empowered. The community of Clinton County has experienced some ma-jor changes in recent years, and Grow Food, Grow Hope has been Wilmington
College’s effort to help in a tangible way. There have been times in the United States’
history where gardening became a solutionto some of the challenges that citizens werefacing. In fact, according to the UnitedStates Department of Agriculture, it becamea solution for the millions of U.S. citizens who planted themselves a Victory Garden!During World War II families through-out the U.S. were facing major changes totheir lifestyles as they adjusted to life on thehome front. One obvious way that families were impacted was through food rationing.Families were provided ration stamps foritems such as meat, clothing, gas, sugar, etc.People became very resourceful and eithercut back on what they consumed, or foundnew ways to get what they needed. Often-times supplies were sent overseas to troops,leaving those on the home front to go with-out. As an attempt to help offset the declinein production on farms throughout theU.S., the U.S.D.A. devised the Victory Gar-den program. In order to offset the needfor produce for the troops, the programencouraged citizens to contribute their ef-forts by planting gardens at home. Garden-ers were taught basic skills and were provid-ed with a few resources to get started.Many families that had Victory Gardenshad them only for the duration of the warin order to offset their rations, and throughtheir individual actions had a large impact. The USDA shares that during 1943 approx-imately 20 million Victory Gardens wereplanted. These gardens provided over 40%of the fresh vegetables consumed that year.One of the first times I ever heard my grandmother speak of how her family wasimpacted by the war was when I began tell-ing her about my new role as Project Man-ager with Grow Food, Grow Hope. Shelikened our attempt to lighten the load of community members by growing small plot
gardens to her family’s Victory Garden.
When I asked Nana why her family decided
to have a garden she simply said, “There wasn’t any produce. It was all sent to thetroops.” There were 8 people in her family
and because their family was pretty large,they had enough ration tickets that they could share with other families. They wereable to help others in that way, but becauseof the size of their family, what they grew intheir garden, they consumed. They wereable to can throughout the summer to usethroughout the year. They grew Swisschard, tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, andspring onions, and also kept a grape arbor.Her favorite items grown were the home-grown tomatoes, which is one thing thatshe still grows today.
Despite the fact that Nana’s family had
limited space in their own yard, a neighboron their street allowed her family along with3 others to garden in their yard for the du-ration of the war. While GFGH wants toensure that all of our garden participantshave all the fresh produce they need andmore, there is also a reason that our originalgarden was named the Friends of HopeCommunity Garden. By building a com-munity that is aware of the needs of others, we are hoping to generate relationships thatprovide not only the food and resourcespeople need, but also the hope that we all
need at times. Nana’s garden only lasted
through the duration of the WWII conflict,and once things returned to their new nor-mal, she never grew a vegetable gardenagain. The generation that came through WWII is widely known for its resilience. Ihope that as our story unfolds and we movethrough our current economic state, we donot forget our ability to grow, adapt, andlearn new ways of doing things.
an editorial by Meghan Otto
Sugartree Ministries has once again openedup their kitchen to us to host a free workshop. This month, we will present the proper way toprepare and cook a turkey for Thanksgiving. The workshop will coincide with Sugartree
Ministries’ annual turkey donation, which will
occur during the same week. We are inviting all members of the public toattend this informative workshop which willdemonstrate how to clean, stuff and baste a
perfect bird. Wilmington College’s own Gloria
Flaherty, a professor in the Education Depart-ment, will guest host with GFGH.
When: Monday, Nov. 21st @ 1:30 p.m. Where: Sugartree Ministries108 N Main St Wilmington, OH 45177
Reservations are strongly encouraged
Please contact Betsie Sweet with anyquestions or to RSVP
937-382-6661 Ext. 693