This last summer and fall we have seen an explosion of interest in gardening, for many reasons. Concern over food safety, economics, and just wanting to grow better tasting food has fed into the gardening movement. This has been a grass roots effort, mainly at the local level. Now we see a move afoot to involve the federal government in our gardening. Garden Rant had a post today about the efforts of Rose-Hayden-Smith, an expert on the history of the Victory Gardens of World Wars 1 and 2. According to Garden Rant, "Rose also met with folks at the USDA while she was in town and left convinced that next year the feds will implement a 'national gardening initiative', something she has been campaigning for." We are all for increasing the interest in vegetable gardening.Â Why after this last year, where people started gardens and gardening on their own, do we see the need for the government in our gardens? The title of the Garden Rant post is, "Victory Garden Historian, 'There is a gardening revolution going on right now.'" The nature of revolutions is people standing up against government involvement in their lives. Why would we want more government in "our revolution?"Rose say's, "I've suggested to new Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack via the Huffington Post, thousands of highly-trained volunteer Master Gardeners (who serve under the USDA's umbrella, through land grant institutions) can be called upon to share their expertise with school, home and community gardeners." I thought that's what they already did. We have regular workshops hosted by The Master Gardeners on all sorts of gardening topics. In addition, our nursery puts on regular workshops promoting gardening and vegetable and fruit gardening in particular.
People turned to gardening this last year in spite of the government. They did it on their own, with little help from the state or feds.Â Rose says about the Victory gardens of WWI and II, "But my take-away was the breadth and depth of government action promoting the home growing of food, which resulted in 40% percent of American production being homegrown.Â Every community had a 'foodshed coordinator' who worked to make sure the right types of food were planted, all coordinated in a big-picture way."
I don't like the sound of that. A "foodshed coordinator" making sure the "right types" of food are planted, "in a big picture way?". Maybe in WWII, but not now. Who decides what food is "right", The Master Gardeners? I, like Rose am encouraged by the interest shown for gardening this year. It was done without government intervention. Why involve them now? I like to garden because it takes me away from all the "big picture" things that are going on in the world. The garden helps us to focus on a smaller picture, what we can do locally to further the gardening cause. Gardening is local. Let's keep it that way.