Harnessing the Power of Small Gardens
The White House Kitchen Garden just celebrated its one-year anniversary, and during the past year it has thrived, producing over 50 kinds of fruits and vegetables and 1,000 pounds of food. Half of the food produced in the garden went to local charities and the rest was used in family and state meals at the White House.
The movement to get the Obamas to plant a White House Kitchen Garden was a success due to the hard work of the Eat The View Campaign. As I wrote about last year, Eat the View, was started in February 2008, by Roger Doiron, the man behind Kitchen Gardeners International, a nonprofit group committed to spreading edible home gardens worldwide.
The White House garden has certainly helped the mission to spread home gardens and in creating a new edible garden movement. As Doiron told me, “It seems like hardly a day goes by without hearing or reading about a new garden or garden initiative.”
The garden also illustrates how much food can be grown in a relatively small garden, something that the US saw with the Victory Gardens that were planted during World War II.
As Doiron points out in his latest commentary, “The Little Garden That Could,” more than 20 million Victory Gardens planted in 1943 illustrate the tremendous impact that small gardens can make. These gardens grew 40 percent of the nation’s produce, “helping to conserve financial and natural resources at a time of crisis.”
He also told me that in the year 2050 we are going to need to find sustainable and healthy ways to feed 9 billion people, and that according to an article he read in the Guardian, to do this “we will need to produce more food over the course of the next 40 years than civilization has produced over the course of the past 10,000 years combined.”
And, as Doiron says, “Small food gardens are going to play a big role in making this happen.”
That’s why he’s continuing the work of Eat The View, which is now focusing on getting state governors to grow food gardens to demonstrate the significant role that small food gardens can play in food production.
One of the first tasks of this new venture is supporting the “Dig for Texas,” petition, an initiative in Texas to urge the gubernatorial candidates there to pledge to dig a garden if elected. The non-partisan group who put this together is hoping to inspire statewide support of home and community fruit and vegetable gardens by showcasing the history of the Texas Governor’s Mansion Garden.
Eat the View is also exploring ways to replicate this in other states and is asking people to help them by going to their site and letting them know if your state’s governor’s residence either has a food garden or doesn’t.