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questions about community gardens

  • Subject: [cg] questions about community gardens
  • From: Diana Kanter dikanter@yahoo.com
  • Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 11:38:28 -0700 (PDT)

 1) How many gardens are there in the U.S. right now?

As Adam Honigman will tell you the best source is the
ACGA community garden survey done in 1996.  You might
be able to average number of gardens per population
and come up with an estimate....

 2) What were the gardens called during the

During the Depression gardens were called Relief
gardens.  (VictorySeeds.com)

 3) When did community gardening originate in the

Potato Patches (1890-1930)
School Gardens (1900-1920)
Garden City Plots (1905-1910)
Liberty Gardens (1917-1920)
Relief Gardens (1935-1979)
Victory Gardens (1941-1945)
Community Gardens (1980+)


Community gardens started as a need for them developed
during war times and times of attrition. Potato
Patches served the urban poor and were seen as an
interim use by the city until times improved. School
Gardens served as an educational tool about nature for
children growing up in an industrial society. Garden
City plots resulted from the City Beautiful movement,
facilitating “a new sociability that cut across
classes” and “rest from the tensions of urban life”
(Bassett, 1981).

During the First World War, Americans were called to
garden in order to support the
troop’s food supply. Though gardening had hitherto
been done in urban environments, it was largely
associated with the ‘lower class’ and ‘the poor’. As a
call to patriotism however, this attitude shifted as
Liberty Gardens now appealed to the middle and upper
classes, thus gaining popularity and widespread
participation (A Deeper Ecology: Community Gardens in
the Urban Environment, Erin A. Williamson). 

During the depression of the 1930s, community gardens
brought nourishment and peace of mind back to
struggling Americans in the form of Relief Gardens.
Again, in the Second World War, the labor shift,
resulting from many of the breadwinners and farm hands
at the time going to fight the war gave cause for
Victory Gardens. As a result, nearly 20 million
Americans partook in Victory Gardens, which produced
up to 40% of the food consumed at the time (Victory

Excerpt from Community Gardens in Milwaukee:
Procedures for Their Long-Term Stability in the City

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

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