As the locavore movement and talk of national food security heats up, urban agriculture is gaining more ground, literally. Today, Slow Food Nation announced the planting of its Victory Garden near San Francisco's City Hall.
On Saturday, July 12, Mayor Gavin Newsom, Slow Food Nation founder Alice Waters and more than 100 volunteers will plant the first edible garden in the City’s Civic Center since 1943. The Victory Garden project takes its name from 20th Century wartime efforts to address food shortages by encouraging citizens to plant gardens on public and private land. In the early 1940s, Victory Gardens were a way for San Francisco residents to participate in developing a secure source of domestic food during a time of war, which was one of the most pressing issues of the day. Victory Gardens sprouted in front yards and vacant lots, and produced 40 percent of the nation’s vegetables. San Francisco’s program became one of the best in the country; Golden Gate Park alone had 250 garden plots.
I had never heard about the WWII Victory Gardens before, but I love the idea of reviving the practice so that—despite sprawl—we can take back the dirt, so to speak. In fact, my own 'hood in Boulder has some similar urban farming efforts going on. Prior to the 1950s, the neighborhood's acreage was a large farm. Now farmer-neighbor Kipp Nash has started turning some of it back into productive land through his CSA,