From COVID-19 to Community: Why now’s a great time to revisit Victory Gardens


In the midst of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and all the stresses it’s put on global supply chains, now is a good time to reflect on how American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his Works Progress Administration successfully encouraged households across America to roll up their sleeves and grow their own vegetables in order to help reduce strain on the war effort.

Wouldn’t it be a massive improvement on our Business-As-Usual approach to feeding modern society if we all banded together to create verdant and productive streets, front yards, parks and balconies that blossomed with year-round fruit, veg, eggs and honey.


Such a push would revitalise some sense of community, an atmosphere of much-needed solidarity and help usher a decentralisation of the food chain in Australia.


Here are 10 things I’d like to see on the stunningly verdant streets of your town soon:

  • Lawns replaced with overgrown rows of market veggies, communally tended and communally shared.

  • Front-yards hosting raised chicken runs replenished with eggs each morning and an army of kids at the ready to collect the daily harvest before breakfast.

  • Grape vines climbing up the front of houses, fattening themselves up for eating, squishing, fermenting and drinking.

  • Stormwater infrastructure re-engineered to water trees and bushes before making its way downstream.

  • The sidelines of local footy fields flanked by well-run community farms complete with chickens, goats and greenhouses full of fine produce.

  • Undercover garages co-opted for productive aquaponic setups and mushroom cupboards.

  • Tall, arching trees climbing above roads and reaching across the street to meet in the middle and keep the sun off the dark pavement below.

  • A transformation of front-yards into social spaces that invite a bit of conversation and camaraderie.

  • An army of young urban farmhands that tend to the patches of busy residents thanks to a community-raised fund (like a sinking fund for suburban streets).

  • The publishing of an annual community cookbook that celebrates the fine local produce and the people that bring it to life.

  • Lawns replaced with overgrown rows of market veggies, communally tended and communally shared.

  • Front-yards hosting raised chicken runs replenished with eggs each morning and an army of kids at the ready to collect the daily harvest before breakfast.

  • Grape vines climbing up the front of houses, fattening themselves up for eating, squishing, fermenting and drinking.

  • Stormwater infrastructure re-engineered to water trees and bushes before making its way downstream.

  • The sidelines of local footy fields flanked by well-run community farms complete with chickens, goats and greenhouses full of fine produce.

  • Undercover garages co-opted for productive aquaponic setups and mushroom cupboards.

  • Tall, arching trees climbing above roads and reaching across the street to meet in the middle and keep the sun off the dark pavement below.

  • A transformation of front-yards into social spaces that invite a bit of conversation and camaraderie.

  • An army of young urban farmhands that tend to the patches of busy residents thanks to a community-raised fund (like a sinking fund for suburban streets).

  • The publishing of an annual community cookbook that celebrates the fine local produce and the people that bring it to life.


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