Posts tagged ‘Southside Community Land Trust’

Back to the 1970s: Recession gardens

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.


June 14, 2009 at 8:52 am 1 comment

Green Swap: take it and leave it

050514greenswap-boardLookit: standing outside the RISD store on the River-Side.

It’s an ongoing garden swap, kind of along the lines of those book/magazine racks outside T stops in Boston (Do these still exist?) Take some plants/seeds/garden equipment, and leave some plants/seeds/garden equipment in return.


I left some volunteer dill and violets and took some garden gloves. Wonder what will be there next?

Brown dog is provided for scale. See the bronze plaque hovering above the cabinet? That marks how high the flood waters reached following the 1938 hurricane.

Time to plant! Southside Community Land Trust’s plant sale and the Youth Pride plant sale are this weekend. Get your baby vegetables, raised with tender loving care, and assist some great causes, too.

May 15, 2009 at 7:28 am Leave a comment

Providence Farm City

090513WGVurbanfarmersApologies to KISS…

Yesterday, I went to a meeting for Providence’s Urban Agriculture Task Force. Launched 4-5 years ago, it’s a confederation of state, local, non-profit, and individual representatives. Some of the projects initiated and/or completed by members include:

Amazing projects in Providence and beyond. And more to come. If you want to get involved, contact the UATF via Southside Community Land Trust.

May 13, 2009 at 6:59 am 1 comment

In the zone

451px-arcimboldo_summer_1563Thanks to everyone who stopped by Firehouse 13 last night for Green Zones: From the War Garden to Your Garden and the first-ever Urban Ag Spring Start Party.

The talks and discussion went over really well, and the seed-swapping table was hopping.  I got a chance to connect with gardeners, historians, and gardening historians from all over.

A spring party was a great outlet for gardeners with seeds, plants, and stories to share. As RI’s food gardening network continues to grow, imagine another garden event this fall?!?!?!?!

May 6, 2009 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

Green Zones Event…and Urban Ag Spring Start?

wargardensvictorious-wright1Check out the updated page for Green Zones: From the War Garden to Your Garden, a presentation on Victory Gardens, the Women’s Land Army of America, and how/why gardeners are growing their own food today. The event takes place on Tues., May 5, starting at 5:30pm at Firehouse 13, 41 Central St. in Providence.

A plan is stirring to hold an Urban Agriculture Spring Start Party afterwards. This will include seed/plant swapping, exchanging ideas, food, music, and kicking off the garden season together.

Community gardeners, backyard gardeners, local foodies, green folks, farmers, teachers, kids. . .can you help out with this emerging event?  Contact me at szurier at wesleyan dot edu or leave a comment, and I’ll be in touch.

April 3, 2009 at 7:17 am 2 comments

Apeiron, Abraham. Abraham, Apeiron.

uncle-sam-saysFickle Providence! Sometimes one must choose between gardens and history. I’m headed to the latter, but I’d love to hear from you about the former. Both events will take place Thursday, Feb. 26.

For the gardeners and foodies:
From 5:30-8pm, the Apeiron Institute for Sustainable Living is holding an Evolution Forum on Sustainable & Local Food: “We can have a big impact on the size of our ecological footprint with the food we eat, or don’t eat and by choosing where it comes from.” Panelists hail from RI-DEM/Agriculture; Farm Fresh Rhode Island; RI General Assembly; Ledge Ends Produce; and Southside Community Land Trust.

17 Gordon Avenue, Suite 207 Providence. $10 for non-members. 
More info: 401-228-7930

For the history buffs and Abrahamaniacs:
Starting at 7pm, RI Historical Society is holding a special event to open an exhibit on Rhode Island in the Time of Lincoln: “Though Lincoln made only two stops in RI, they were widely attended and remembered. But what did the RI that Lincoln visited look like?” Explore the exhibit, and listen to presentations about the people, places, and attitudes of the times.

110 Benevolent St., Providence
More info: 401-331-8575 x45

February 25, 2009 at 6:22 pm Leave a comment

gardening on the homefront: take that, Slacker Land!

As America entered World War I, women and children enlisted in garden armies, gardeners went to battle against insect pests, and every effort was made to ensure that “our food is fighting.” But as if all that wasn’t enough, American land also was compelled to go to war.

The National War Garden Commission targeted empty city lots and sent out battalions of pitchfork-waving civilians…to use their pitchforks and garden. America could not afford to have any land slacking off during wartime. Gives a whole new meaning to the idea of fighting to protect American soil.

The “slacker land” was put to work as sites for community gardens. The benefits of community War Gardens included sharing expertise, soil preparation activities, plants, and equipment. And there were the social benefits: friendly rivalry, community building, etc. In The War Garden Victorious (1919), Charles Lathrop Pack promoted community gardens as community assets that increased real estate values, freed up funds that would have been spent on food, and beautified the city. He urged local governments, chambers of commerce, and other civic organizations to retain the gardens as a post-war economic development program.

Contemporary proponents of urban agriculture use many of the same arguments today. See “Urban Agriculture in Providence,” a publication of the Urban Agriculture Policy Task Force initiated by Southside Community Land Trust/Citywide Green. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of vacant lots in Providence. Join a community garden, and “put that slacker land to work!”

August 14, 2008 at 10:02 pm 1 comment

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