GROCERY SHOPPING FROM THE BACK PORCH, Part 2
by Meldon Jenkins-Jones
In the words of Nicole Johnsey Burke, the author of Kitchen Garden Revival: A Modern Guide to Creating a Stylish, Small-scale, Low-maintenance, Edible Garden (available online through Hoopla), “Kitchen gardens were once popular features of the European and early American landscape, but they fell out of favor when our agrarian roots were displaced by industrialization.”
Regaining popularity during both World Wars, kitchen gardens were known as Victory Gardens. Current pandemic realities have made them more than a convenience once again. In a recent NPR interview by Petra Mayer, Jennifer Atkinson, author of Gardenland: Nature, Fantasy and Everyday Practice said, “What people are starved for right now isn’t food, but contact with something real… We spend all day on screens. We can’t be around each other at restaurants or ballparks. We can’t even give hugs or shake hands. So all of a sudden, the appeal of sinking your hands in the dirt and using your body in ways that matter, that becomes irresistible.” Here in Richmond, community organizers are calling them by a new name, “Resiliency Gardens”.
There are even vegetable recipes to help you plan what to do with your home-grown produce once you harvest them. I’ve discovered lots of websites promoting fresh veggies, including some with omnivore and flexitarian recipes. Oh, I’m getting ahead of my story–most of my seeds are still seedlings! I am planning ahead, though, so my second crop of veggies will be planted when I receive my “Resiliency Garden” raised bed courtesy of Beautiful RVA. As Happily Natural’s Duron Chavis says, the “Resiliency Garden Project” is “growing community through food access.” He continues, “Nothing says hope like planting a seed.” He says that a backyard garden will reduce the need to go out to the grocery store. My sentiments, exactly!