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The New Victory Gardens

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The obsession over eating locally has transformed the way we dine at restaurants, buy our produce, view our farmers—and it's also changing our lexicon. Virtually unheard of several years ago, the terms "CSA" and "locavore" now pop up (almost) as often as "farmer's markets." And as more home gardens and orchards pop up (stay tuned for a piece in our June issue on personal gardeners) the next term to enter the lexicon might just be one borrowed from the past:
"victory garden." Also known as "war gardens," an estimated 20 million gardens—in backyards, vacant lots, city parks—were planted in the 1940s (amounting to about 40 percent of all vegetables produced in the country at the time) in response to a brilliant campaign by the U.S. government to encourage homegrown foods during the wartime rationing period.

The victory garden's newest iterations are, not surprisingly, in San Francisco. Funded by the City of San Francisco's Department for the Environment, Amy Franceschini of Victory Gardens 2007+ is planting 15 urban gardens for low-income families this year. And as reported recently by the San Francisco Chronicle, Kevin Bayuk of the San Francisco Permaculture Guild has compiled a list of privately owned vacant lots in the city—amounting to almost 50 square miles—in the hope of creating organic edible gardens.

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