Back to the 1970s: Recession gardens

June 14, 2009 at 8:52 am 1 comment

090614crockettIt rains so much in Providence nowadays that I spend more time with the newspapers and online and less time in the garden. First the newspaper…

Yesterday, the Providence Journal ran a story on recession gardens. Southside Community Land Trust is expanding the Prairie Street Community Garden to accommodate more plots, and URI Master Gardener Coordinator Roseanne Sherry is hearing from more and more new gardeners this year. And the trend is national, with seed companies reporting record sales in 2009.

The last upsurge in food gardening took place during the economic crises of the 1970s.  In Rhode Island, Bristol legislator Gaetano Parella put forth four resolutions to make underused local, state, and federal land available for individual gardens in 1974. Reflecting on the victory gardens of WWII, Parella said there was “no reason why our citizens cannot do the same thing now to fight rising food costs.” A ProJo article from the same year described “Rhode Island’s growing army of backyard farmers.”

Now that you have read this newspaper article (online, perhaps), try googling “recession garden,” “recession gardens,” or “recession gardening.” Expect this term to start competing with victory garden/s/ing.

Speaking of googling, if you enter “Victory Garden,” the first entry to pop up is PBS’s television show. “The Victory Garden” began broadcasting in the mid-1970s; it was America’s first gardening program on tv. The goal was to encourage Americans to fight the recession by growing their own food. By using the name “Victory Garden,” the creators evoked nostalgia for the can-do spirit of wartime gardens. And I suppose that in 1975, nobody wanted to watch a show called “The Recession Garden.”

In 2009, we just might.

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Entry filed under: community gardens, contemporary victory garden movement, food, gardens, Providence, Providence Journal, Southside Community Land Trust, television, URI, vegetables, Victory Gardens, wartime gardens, World War II. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

The Gleaners 1: fruit foraging Hang on!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. emily  |  June 15, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Also, the orginal host of the Victory Garden lived and gardened out of Cambridge, MA so his advise was particularly local. I can’t remember his name.

    Reply

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