Victory garden posters are my favorite wartime artwork (though all propaganda posters are pretty fascinating). Unlike many posters which scared you into working harder lest America fall to communism or the Axis powers, posters promoting victory gardens seem to have been generally positive. And the simple, direct slogans, bright colors, and streamlined designs speak to me – I have several modern gardening posters influencing the way I compost and can in my kitchen. There’s something oddly compelling about a space age pickle, no?
I did a double-take while perusing my facebook feed recently, seeing this vintage poster pop up on High Mowing Organic Seeds‘ page:
Beautiful, right? Gorgeous colors, vibrant and healthy fruit and veg, throw some ribbon in there for patriotism, we’re good to go. But the slogan… wow. It may have meant supporting the war effort during WWII, or be sure to help the boys fight the commies, or whatever it meant back then, but today?
“Grow your own – only way to be sure there’s no pesticides!”
“Grow your own – be sure your children won’t sprout a second head!”
“Grow your own – be sure your sprouts, melons, and spinach won’t kill you!”*
Times sure have changed.
Speaking of changing times, how about this one?
I certainly don’t get the impression that it’s my patriotic duty to do much more than support the 1% these days. Thriftiness will get you nowhere when you’re defeating the enemy by shopping.
In the interest of getting back to simpler times when corporations didn’t rule the world, I’m going to attempt to quantify how much money one could save by being thrifty and growing your own. Let’s call it the 2012 foodmeonce Victory Garden Challenge.
Here’s my rules so far:
- Keep track of how much money I spend on my garden this year (plants, seeds, dirt, mulch, etc. I’m still undecided about labor costs at the moment, but I’ll probably factor that in somehow).
- Keep track of how much stuff comes out of my garden.
- Figure out how much money each unit (tomato? onion? you get the idea) cost to grow.
- Compare to equivalent produce in the grocery store or at the farmers’ markets.
- Update regularly to prove I’m actually keeping track of everything.
I’m sure this will evolve as I go, but it at the very least will keep me organized in garden planning. And accountable to boot. Here’s my costs for the 2012 garden so far:
Onions and garlic are in the ground, lemongrass is happily sprouting roots to beat the band. I’m optimistic that terrorists won’t come near my backyard. Deer, however, are a different story.
*Check the FDA food recall site if you don’t believe me.