In World Wars I and II, the U.S. government launched the National War Garden Commission that encouraged Americans to grow their own food in home gardens. These gardens were known as “Victory Gardens” and became quite popular across the nation. By 1944, there were over 20 million victory gardens in the United States. The Climate Victory Garden is the revival of the original Victory Garden, but this time we have a new fighting: climate change.
In 2017 alone, there were 53.5 gigatons of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. For reference, that is equal to 117,947,310,268,910.8 pounds! Scientists have determined that cutting all greenhouse gas emissions, meaning that number would drop to zero, is not enough to prevent the average global temperature from increasing 2℃, which is the threshold for catastrophic global warming. In order to limit the temperature increase, we would need to achieve negative greenhouse gas emissions.
Many companies are working on bioenergy and carbon capture technologies to achieve negative emissions. However, did you know that there is something you can do at your own home to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? By growing your own Climate Victory Garden, you can make a difference. A Climate Victory Garden is a garden that utilizes regenerative agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration is the process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored elsewhere, such as in soil.
The Climate Victory Garden employs a number of sustainable agricultural practices, such as: minimal soil disruption through no-till agriculture; planting perennial crops with deep roots that can store more carbon; increasing biodiversity, which creates a more stable and resilient ecosystem; and using cover crops that feed soil organisms and increase soil carbon levels. These practices improve the soil quality, which not only increases the soil’s carbon sequestration capacity, but also benefits the overall health of the garden.
Another way the Climate Victory Garden aids the environment is by limiting greenhouse gases emitted through food transportation and production. The food you buy at the store is processed, packaged, and shipped to your area. A considerable amount of greenhouse gases are emitted at all these stages. However, if more Americans were to grow their own food at home, greenhouse gas emissions from food production would significantly decrease.
Here at the Community Ecology Institute, we are in the process of growing our own Climate Victory Garden, which is only the second certified Climate Victory Garden in the state of Maryland. We will be sharing the process of growing our garden online, including tips for those of you who join us by planting your own gardens.
If you are concerned about the future of our planet, you don’t need to wait around for others to do something. You can make a difference right now by starting your own Climate Victory Garden. For more information, visit the Green America website at www.greenamerica.org/climatevictorygarden.
By Faith Haney