U.S. Dept. of Agriculture poster promoting victory gardens. ~ 1942
VICTORY GARDEN is not only PBS’s longest running gardening show on television. During World Wars I & II, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, these were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. These gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” because gardeners felt empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown.
In 1943, 20 million private and public gardens were producing 8 million tons of food.
Today food travels thousands of miles over many days from farm to table, and the cycle of planting, fertilizing, processing, packaging, and transporting our food uses enormous amounts of energy and contributes to global warming.
Hawaii has less than a seven day supply of many foods, especially perishables. Some 90% percent of our food is imported.
Drawing from the rich history of World War I & II Victory Gardens, there is a growing movement giving a new meaning to ‘victory’. ♦ fresher, healthier food consumption ♦ independence from corporate food systems ♦ self-sufficiency, sustainability, and good stewardship ♦ more people involved in the natural environment
PLANT AN ‘ALOHA AINA’ GARDEN
That’s up 19 percent over last year, according to a survey conducted in January by the National Gardening Association. About a fifth of gardeners this year will be new to the activity, the survey says. Most — 54 percent — said they will garden because it saves them money on food bills. A slightly larger group said they garden because homegrown food tastes better.
In recent time the self-sustainability movement has brought back the good sense of home gardening, and today ‘recession’ gardens spotlight the value of gardening during tough economic times. Thanks to Hawaii’s mild, year-round climate, it is a fertile place that sustains many types of crops. New gardeners should start out slow, learn as you go, and seek advice from neighborhood growers who can be most helpful when it comes to learning about the local environment.
HOME GROWN mo’ bettah!
LOCALLY GROWN & RAISED FOODS
- are fresher and taste better
- are available year-round
- have much less environmental impact
- preserve green space & farmland
- promote food safety
- support our local economy
- provide variety
- create community
Think you can’t taste the difference between lettuce picked yesterday and lettuce picked last week, factory-washed, and sealed in plastic? You can. And fresh food lasts longer too. The fewer steps there are between your food’s source and your table the less chance there is of health-threatening contamination. And don’t forget that those thousands of miles our food imports are shipped creates a big carbon footprint.
If a home garden is not for you then buy local. Almost 60% of MAUI COUNTY land is in agriculture with 1,096 farm and livestock operations producing cattle, hogs, eggs, honey, aquaculture, sugar, pineapple, vegetables and melons, fruits, coffee, macadamia nuts, and taro. The highest vegetable crop production per pound is cucumbers, followed by cabbage, onions, taro, Italian squash and romaine lettuce. Other diversified crops including flowers and nursery products are rapidly expanding and account for about 70% of farm revenue.
When buying locally produced foods we’re not only eating healthier, we’re benefiting our community, environment, and lifestyle.
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