Urban Gardening as a Solution for Food Insecurity and Development of Communities
Since its launch in 2009, the Victory Garden Initiative has installed over 3,500 gardens across the greater Milwaukee area. Montana Morris, of VGI, explains that, “Food insecurity is a lack of access to regular, nutritious food that you are required to have to be healthy.” Urban Farming is being established across the globe as a way of fighting food insecurity and food deserts.
The Victory Garden Initiative works to establish that growing food is a basic human right. The Victory Garden Blitz is an annual 15 day event where volunteers install raised garden beds all over the city.
Montana, Community Programs Manager, highlights Victory Garden’s mission in this interview, “We build communities that grow their own food in a culturally led, socially just, and environmentally sustainable way.” The goal is to create a food system for everyone to help fight food insecurity and food deserts.
Urban Gardening as a Solution for Food Insecurity
Montana explains that, “Food insecurity is a lack of access to regular, nutritious food that you are required to have to be healthy.” In an article for Civil Eats, professor Miguel Altieri, cites resources that determine that “Urban Farming” has grown by 30% over the last 30 years and that “Urban Agriculture” can meet more than 15% of global food demand. However, he writes, “it remains to be seen what level of food self-sufficiency it can realistically ensure for cities.”
The main problems getting in the way of Urban Gardens being a solution are access to land, legal barriers and red tape, and the skills to turn these gardens into a solid source of locally grown food that is sourced to those in need. Organizations like VGI, are aware of these problems and work tirelessly with conviction to overcome a lack of knowledge and vision to establish that Urban Farming is the most logical way to overcome food deserts and bring a security related to food to those that find it difficult to acquire and afford quality, nutritious eats.
What is the Value of Gardening for Kids?
In addition to the Blitz program, Victory Gardens provides education for schools and summer opportunities for kids. In these programs, the Victory Garden Initiative teaches kids how to cook food that is sourced straight from the gardens that they help to maintain.
Jay Johnson, Victory Garden’s Youth Programs Coordinator, reminds us that gardening is a great family activity. It doesn’t require a certain level of experience and everyone can participate. Gardening is great exercise and it’s therapeutic. Gardening helps to build communities by bringing people together. “Kids will have a greater appreciation for your food sources,” he concludes. Montana adds, ”It develops a really healthy sense of responsibility.”
Urban gardening programs combat food insecurity, help instill healthy values by growing your own food, and bring communities together. Learn more about opportunities by inquiring at:
Victory Gardens Initiative
249 E. Concordia Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53212
PO Box 12130
Milwaukee, WI 53212
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Flourishing Families is a Sterling Series aimed at highlighting organizations in our community that support and build up strong families