During World War II, it was commonplace for Americans to have small “victory gardens” in their yards – growing one’s own vegetables, fruit and herbs helped drive down the cost of produce, so the military could afford to reduce their food budget and spend more money on ammunition and supplies. About 20 million Americans planted victory gardens, and the Department of Agriculture promoted this cause with booklets and short films educating the public on how to start victory gardens.
Last March a vegetable garden was planted on the White House lawn in order to provide food for the Obama family and White House staff and visitors, as well as families in need in the Washington D.C. area. It is the first vegetable garden on the White House lawn since Eleanor Roosevelt started her own victory garden during World War II. A wider, national revival of the victory garden might help fight the problem of food deserts. The lengthy and involved transportation process that American food often goes through can require a lot of energy. This contributes to higher food prices and puts strain on the environment. A victory garden would provide those living in food deserts with their own fruits, vegetables or herbs, so they would always have healthy food at hand. Also, if enough people joined in the victory garden movement, the healthier foods available at grocery stores would drop in price.The website Revive the Victory Garden suggests such options as using seed exchanges, starting gardens in one's yard or starting container gardens if space or sunlight is limited, joining community gardens or sharing a yard garden with a friend or neighbor, and freezing or canning any extra fruits and vegetables.