'Make America Green Again' Is A New Campaign To Bring Back 'Victory Gardens'

Back in the 1940's, "Victory Gardens" were a massive effort to boost produce growth that helped feed communities and troops. They're making a return now to combat carbon emissions, and Green America has set a goal to double the amount of gardens than before.


May 17 2019, Updated 5:58 p.m. ET

Limiting plastic use and adding plant-based meals to our diets are easy and common ways to fight climate change. Another fulfilling way to participate is by creating and maintaining a local garden, whether in a community area or at home. Green America is bringing back “Victory Gardens” from earlier World Wars, only changing the focus to winning against carbon emissions.

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When the United States were fighting in World War I and II, local communities and troops were supported by fruits and vegetables from Victory Gardens. A massive push led to eight million tons of food, or 40 percent of the produce consumed in the US, grown by close to 20 million gardens by 1944.

Since that time, our country’s population has more than doubled to over 323 million citizens. That amount of people is causing havoc to our environment in terms of carbon dioxide emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the transportation and electricity sectors each represent 28 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. 

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More beef consumption, relying on independent vehicles to reach our destination, and the rise of plastic use are some of the major contributions to climate change. The land use and forestry sector has seen a nine percent drop in carbon sequestration, or the process of removing these emissions from the atmosphere, between 1990 and 2016.

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“Hotter days, longer periods of drought, and more intense storms are becoming the new normal, and species around the world are already feeling the effects,” said Nikhil Advani, lead specialist for climate, communities, and wildlife at the World Wildlife Fund.

“While we work to ratchet down emissions, it’s critical we also improve our understanding of species response to climate change and develop strategies to help them adapt.”

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Green America is looking toward Victory Gardens to negate this increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of helping out war efforts, they’re looking to help improve those carbon sequestration numbers. They’re doubling the amount of gardens from the World War II era, setting a goal for 40 million gardens by 2030. 

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It doesn’t take much time or effort to plant a garden in our own home, and more residential areas are building community areas for growing fruits and vegetables. There’s no need to invest in expensive alternatives and there’s no commitment to a lifestyle change. People can save money by growing produce instead of purchasing it at grocery stores.

“Americans want to take actions that have a direct impact on climate change. They are also increasingly concerned about the chemicals on store-bought produce,” Todd Larsen, executive co-director of consumer and corporate engagement at Green America, told Inhabitat

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“Climate Victory Gardens gives us all a way to reduce our impact on the planet, while ensuring the food we feed our families is safe and nutritious.”

In order to successfully maintain a Climate Victory Garden, Green America created a checklist for planters to follow. Guidelines include planting perennials, ditching chemical use, composting organic waste to garden fertilizer, and rotating plants and crops. For composting, coffee filters and grounds, cardboard, yard waste, and some produce scraps can all be used.

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