As the resurgence of victory gardens are springing up across the country, we explore urban communities looking for new ways to grow their own food and give back to those in need.
New Victory Gardens
One organization – The Peterson Garden Project in Chicago – not only sets up community gardens in big-city neighborhoods but also teaches people how to grow their own food. This historical Chicago victory garden is not just about growing food but also growing communities. The Peterson Garden Project is building gardeners rather than gardens, and their success is amazing and inspiring.
LaManda Joy started the Peterson Garden Project to get people involved in growing their own food. After learning that her neighborhood was once a hub for the 1940’s Victory Garden Movement, LaManda was determined to recreate that era momentum today.
What really sets their mission apart is that all of the gardens they build are only temporary. The Peterson Garden Project’s mission is based on some of the same philosophies used during the Victory Garden Movement of the early 1940’s.
During WWII, communities came together to build temporary gardens to teach citizens to grow some of the nation’s food. The Peterson Garden Project is doing the same thing but with the goal of growing life-long gardeners as well as organic produce.
Sharing the Bounty
In this episode, we also revisit the story of Gary Oppenheimer, the founder of an organization called Ample Harvest that helps people share some of their “ample harvest” or extra produce with neighbors in need.
If you’ve ever grown a vegetable garden, you’ve probably had more of something than you could use at the end of the season. That was the basis for how AmpleHarvest.org was formed.
Gary Oppenheimer saw that his community garden was producing far more than the gardeners could consume, or even give away to family and friends. So he decided to find a way to get that fresh produce into the hands of neighbors in need, and that simple idea grew into a national non-profit network.
The premise was to make it possible for anyone to have access to- or donate- fresh produce, wherever they lived—all from garden surplus. Today, AmpleHarvest.org has been recognized by the White House as well as major companies and organizations for their important work.
We hope you enjoy these stories that demonstrate how something as simple as a garden can grow communities and be a source for meeting the needs of those around us.