Gardening is part of the American heritage. No one who traveled to the New World in the 1600’s expected to find a grocery store. In WWI and WWII, Victory Gardens became popular as civilians were urged to contribute to the cause by growing vegetables in every flowerpot and patch of land available. Today, victory gardens (AKA Resiliency Gardens or Pandemic Resiliency Gardens) are enjoying yet another resurgence today, due to the corona virus pandemic. Gardening is known to reduce stress, the fresh produce is good for your health and growing your own increases your resiliency and self-sufficiency.
If you’re like me and don’t want to go to the grocery store for fresh veggies, you are probably thinking about planting a Resiliency Garden. You are not alone. On March 28th the New York Times published Panic Buying Comes for the Seeds, describing seed companies who are overwhelmed with higher than normal orders. Some are reporting a shipping backlog of close to a month.
“Even with a small amount of acreage, homeowners are able to grow large gardens—and these assets can reduce the number of trips to the grocery store and reduce your odds of contracting the COVID-19 virus,” says Tim MacWelch, owner and lead instructor at Advanced Survival Training in Northern Virginia.
Food rationing was a part of life during both world wars, so an estimated 20 million homes participated when the government urged Americans to pitch in by tending home garden plots. It was a combination of labor and transportation shortages, combined with the needs for food by the troops. Empty lots, front lawns, rooftops, and random pots—all were worthy spaces for sowing these wartime seeds.
Ron Finley, a community organizer from South LA, has been telling inner city dwellers for years that “Gardening is a Revolutionary Act“. His message is that EVERY spot of open urban land is potentially a community garden. You can find his TEDx, and others, on the SymSoil YouTube channel, under the “SymSoil Recommends – A Short List of Videos on Soil Health” playlist.
In WWII, harvest from victory gardens in private homes were estimated to be 9+ million tons or 40% of the country’s fresh fruits and vegetables grown in America.
Even before the novel corona virus came along, home gardens have actually been taking off, thanks to the farm-to-table trend that has people interested in growing their own fresh food. “For a few years now, I’ve been seeing a heightened interest in edible gardens, from regenerative ag farmers, every day residents to the ever growing permaculture movement. It appeals to people who want to live a net-zero life and eat organically,” says Daniel Garcia of Visalia.
For those who are sheltering-in-place and looking to use their garden as a teachable moment, SymSoil offers a number of ebooks for home schooling in the field of permaculture and regenerative farming.
You can also join a Facebook group, that shares information about Resilience Gardens.
In addition to avoiding the stress of grocery shopping, a study published in 2011 in the Journal of Health Psychology reported that gardening was more effective at reducing stress than reading a book. Another study that appeared in the Journal of Public Health found that working in a garden for just 30 minutes increased self-esteem and mood.
If life has become too stressful, consider digging in the dirt and read Gardening and Food Growing to Reduce Stress and Stress Related Illness. You can use containers, a windowsill and pots, if your space is limited. Even a window, balcony or roof will work. All you really need, beyond potting soil, is a sunny location so the seeds can germinate.
We also recommend you learn about composting and living soil. There is increasing evidence that soil microbes, from food grown in biologically healthy soil, is helpful to human health. Through the SymSoil shopping cart you can find tools to improve your soil and your gardening knowledge. You can also join the Local Carbon Network and improve composting while sequestering a ton of Carbon Dioxide per year.
What is Regenerative Agriculture?
On the continuum from organic farming to sustainable farming, regenerative e farming is the logical next step. With each crop farmed in a regenerative way, the soil health and fertility improves. Thus, regenerative agriculture is the return to the harmonious and mindful application of natural systems to farming. This approach has proven its ability to dramatically increase the nutritional value of crops, without sacrificing yields, while reducing inputs and associated costs of highly intrusive techniques, healing the damage done by conventional approaches to farming.
SymSoil has products to help farmers improve profitability where ever they are on the continuum. These include products to reseed the complete soil microbe biome, foods for soil microbes, consulting and laboratory testing to assess the biology and shift, with biology, plant nutrient cycling, and soil conditioners.
SymSoil and Permaculture
Permaculture classes are where many regenerative techniques are taught. SymSoil is a provider of goods and services for growers using regenerative agriculture methods. Two of the 4 co-founders of SymSoil, a California B-Corp, have advanced certification in Permaculture Design. They focus on wholistic thinking, and utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. Permaculture has proven its ability to dramatically increase the nutritional value of crops, without sacrificing yields, while reducing inputs and associated costs of highly intrusive techniques, healing the damage done by conventional approaches to farming.
You can learn more about permaculture here: Permaculture, Home Schooling and Soil Science