From: Dick Gallien
The positive impact of Victory Gardens during World War 1 and World War 11 are well documented. Today, the U.S. food industry has declared war against all of us and is entrenched in most refrigerators and on most plates. For those who can see the whites of the enemies eyes, Victory Gardens are the best self defense.
The city of Winona ended it’s support of “the war effort,” when it closed its community gardens where the Middle School is now. Bob Welch generously mailed a letter to the 150 participants, including a letter inviting them to garden at The Winona Farm. Seeing Bob later, he asked how it was going. On hearing that only 12 out of 150 came, Bob said, “That’s what I would’ve expected,” but I didn’t have a chance to ask him why. The Middle School plots were $8 and $10 here for the same sized plot. Alongside a busy road vs. peace and quiet. Sandy soil vs. clay and composted manures. No shade vs. nearby shade. No water vs. a 1,500 gallon tank of creek water parked next to the plots and, no vandalism.
One huge difference, PUBLIC VS PRIVATE, whereas the Hmong community, who gardened here a dozen years rented a large tract, divided it to their suiting, raked out every tiny blade of organic matter and after 2 years would say, “Land no good, need a new piece,” which is how they had operated for thousands of years, in the government owned, slash and burn lands of Laos.
Winona County is helping “the war effort” by providing community gardens. They are considering a compost site, to bring their hard packed clay soil back to life, which it will. As county residents, it will be THEIR LAND and THEIR GARDENS, so interest should grow. The only problem is distance.
Ideally, the closer ones’ garden is to ones’ kitchen, the better. Ideally, a community garden is as convenient as possible to the community. Historically, lawns were a symbol of opulence, that the owners didn’t need to garden, farm or pasture livestock. They flaunted their richness by being able to afford lawn. The income gap is widening. The food industry does not allow us to know what is in our food. Produce from your healthy, living soil, is the best defense. How many acres of lawn do you and your city mow?