By T.C. Conner/The Write Gardener
GROVE CITY —
They're called community gardens, and they have sprouted up all over the country.
Popularized sometime during the 1890s in Detroit, community gardens were part of a "civic beautification movement" that gave local residents an opportunity to get involved with social and educational reform groups.
These groups helped unemployed workers, and also felt that gardening was a good method of teaching youngsters good work habits.
During World War I, the government saw a need to assist with the domestic food supply and instigated the Bureau of Education's program known as the United States School Garden Army.
The USSGA received help from 50,000 teachers and several thousand volunteers to begin work on gardening projects throughout the nation.
To help counterbalance the Great Depression of the 1930s 23 million households grew their own produce, worth an estimated value of $36 million.
Translated into today's currency, the income value would be a little over $2 billion.
Coming out of the Great Depression during the 1940s saw the development of Victory Gardens, much needed to help with the turmoil caused by World War II.
As part of the war effort, rationing of food became necessary: sugar, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, coffee, meat and canned goods were rationed by the government.
Citizens were encouraged to grow their own food "for personal consumption, recreation, and to improve moral."
Victory Gardens fell out of fashion after the war, but the few that remained were instrumental in creating a rebirth of community gardening during the 1970s. This rebirth continues today.
Grove City has recently began implementing plans for their own community garden project. I'm honored to say that I've been chosen to help with this very worthwhile gardening endeavor.
I'll serve on their committee as a Master Gardener adviser, assisting with plant selection, care, disease identification and treatment, and help with any other problems and questions.
Will Rose, assistant borough manager, is serving as liaison between his office and the yet to be announced Grove City Community Garden Project committee chairman. If you would like to volunteer to serve on the GCCG committee, please call Will at 724-458-7060 ext. 104, you can also email: Will@GroveCityOnline.com.
You can also contact me with any questions you might have, call or text 724-967-2706.
The American Community Gardening Association has a terrific website where you can learn practically everything about community gardens: www.communitygarden.org
Mercer area gardening columnist T.C. Conner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published Jan. 18, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.