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Who Knew Vegetable Gardens Could Be so Revolutionary?

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Food production has long been linked to politics, but there is a new movement underfoot. Americans are growing tired of waiting for the food industry to change. Thanks to the Internet, revealing documentaries, and outspoken food activists, there is more information available than ever before about the dark side of corporate-driven food production. So, while Monsanto continues to sell its genetically modified seeds and CAFOs continue to churn out questionable meat, Americans are protesting by picking up their shovels and hoes - and gardening.

It's a "liberating DIY revolution," as writer Megan Mayhew Bergman calls it. In her article "Democracy needs gardeners!" which is an inspiring call for Americans to dig up their lawns, convert empty spaces, and utilize available windowsills, Bergman urges Americans to start gardening as an act of patriotism. She's not alone in this, nor is it a new suggestion. Gardening at home as an act of patriotism and of self-preservation has been important throughout America's history.

Thomas Jefferson was a gardening enthusiast, but his passion for growing food went beyond his own backyard. Apparently he believed that America was incapable of true democracy unless 20 percent of its citizens were self-sufficient on small farms. This would enable them to be real dissenters, free to voice opinions and beliefs, without any obligation to food producers who might hold their survival at stake.

During World War II, Americans rallied together to grow vast acres of victory gardens that ended up supplying 40 percent of the nation's wartime food supply - an astonishingly large quantity of produce in a relatively short period of time, when you stop to think about it.   


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