More and more people are taking the plunge into backyard gardening. Some are even planting fruits and veggies in their front yard and adopting the “no-mow” approach. Last year one website, Freedom Gardens, used its social networking platform to coordinate the “100 Foot Diet Challenge.” Hundreds of gardeners throughout the country accepted the invitation by getting out their hoes and spades.
The “Freedom Garden” borrows its name from the Victory Garden movement (but dropped its the militaristic overtones). Victory Gardens were popular during World War II, during which many Americans ramped up local food production as a means to bolster the economy and support the war effort. (Hard to believe anyone ever considered gardening to be patriotic.)
“Eat Your View”
The 100 Foot Diet tag was inspired by the “100 mile diet,” a local-eating approach popularized by Alisa Smith and J. B. MacKinnon. Practitioners of the 100 Foot Diet Challenge expand the emphasis on reducing one’s carbon footprint by growing most of the food they consume.
The challenge was the brainchild of the Dervaes family of Pasadena, urban homesteaders who have cultivated a bountiful farm on their estate, whose garden only takes up 1/10 acre. Jules Dervaes and his three adult children, Anais, Justin, and Jordanne, document their advances in self-sufficiency on their Path to Freedom website.
Anais says that there are several benefits to a Freedom Garden. Some of the more attractive include
- More nutritious food
- Increased food security
- Reduction in the number of miles your food travels
- Greater participation in the local food economy (if you have a surplus that you can sell or trade)
Judging by the hundreds of people who signed up, the Dervaeses consider the challenge, which launched last January, a success. Anais believes that it struck a chord with people who were “fed up with food miles, foreign oil, and skyrocketing food prices and concerned about where their food comes from.”
A few months after the diet challenge, Freedom Gardens launched the “Harvest Keeper” challenge to preserve whatever bounty they produced through canning and storage methods. Such activities are all part of what has been dubbed the “homegrown revolution.”
More posts about “going local”:
- Locavores: Get to Know Your Local Farms
- Four Ways to Go Local and Live Green
- Book Review: Small Is Possible
Image Credit: Freedom Gardens