If you are reading this, you are checking out what's going on with Victory! Sometimes there's a lot and sometimes there's not. I'm hoping that along the way; someone will be inspired or inspire me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Victory Gardens for 10-10-10 Challenge Launched Today

This is it! We're on another journey to get you in the garden growing food, planting native and drought-tolerant plants.

I won't say much here, for now, because there's plenty information and participation at our website. But, I do want to encourage you to get involved. Your imagination is all it takes. No time to imagine? Then, we really want you in the garden. The best ideas are found there :)

Go to the Victory Garden Foundation and sign up as a member, or for the newsletter so that you keep up-to-date about our progress and how you may get involved.

We're pushing for activities leading up to and including Oct 10, 2010 (before the ground gets hard) to garden and prepare to be a part of growing your food at home. Get involved.

Be a Fan and Share at Facebook: Victory Gardens for 10-10-10

Follow us and Re-tweet at: VictoryGarden2U

Need more information? Contact us

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's a Global Concern

Some of you may remember our May 15-16 gardening challenge weekend. There were Garden Work Parties in many locations to draw attention to our global climate issue through food gardening at home. I enjoyed the glee in the eyes of all of the volunteers that were at Garden Work Parties in Oakland and Berkeley CA. I wish I could have visited everyone around the globe that participated.

We started the challenge a little more than 3 weeks before the May 15-16 weekend at the urging of organizers at iGrowSonoma. And, I am entirely grateful for their encouragement and support to help make gardeners aware of the need to continue doing their great work by growing food in and around their communities.

We registered 170 food gardeners growing food (or a member of a work crew) in at least 94,000 square feet of space. That's a little over 2 acres of food and about $20,000 to $40,000 of food savings depending on the crop.And the uncounted impact of reducing transportation going to the market.
Seventy of these gardens are on the 350 Garden Challenge map representing almost 35,000 square feet of food gardening at home

And, we know of others who did not register; but they weighed in supporting the 350 Victory Garden Challenge. I think that's impressive. 

Let's see your face in your community
But it's not enough. So, now ... we partner again with 350.org and many other businesses, organizations, and individuals to "get to work." That's the theme of this next challenge to bring awareness our gas emissions problems on a global platform. On October 10, 2010 people around the global will join in to be let our governments, businesses, and individuals know that it's time to "get to work" to bring our carbon gas emissions down to 350 parts per million. Today, we sit at about 392 ppm. That's not acceptable.
This level is taking a toll of the health of individuals and the planet as a whole. There are health issues associated with this high level of gas emissions. As individuals, we can do much to reduce this trend: just for one day a week; leave the car at home ... bike or walk for the day. Change all your light bulbs to CFLs. Plant a tree. Plant a water-wise garden removing the lawn and planting native, drought-tolerate plants; and my favorite thing to do ... Plant a Food Garden.

You can plant your garden indoors, outdoors, on the stairs, balcony, patio, and roof. Plant vertically. Just plant it to eat it! And, help your neighbor plant it to eat it!
This month the Victory Garden Foundation again launches a challenge everyone around the world to grow your food at home and help something else grow their food. This is our 10.10.10 Victory Garden Challenge. Our goal: 101010 people registered and growing food, joining a garden work crew, teaching others to grow food and be great stewards of our plant, biking and walking to gardens to discuss our global gas emission issues, helping to prepare gardens, and just having a great time meeting your neighbors and expanding your community.

On August 21st; we'll officially launch our 10.10.10 Victory Garden Challenge although we never stopped the 350 Victory Garden Challenge ;) And, You are the most important part of this challenge. We need you to participate, talk about this situation, get the word out, let the politicians know they need to "get to work" and resolve these gas emissions issues. Because, We, the People are ready to Get to Work.
We think we have some exciting ideas and programs to help you take a stand on this very important issue. And, this time, we have more than 3 weeks to get the word out.
Look for this button at Victory Garden Foundation
So, I ask, are you ready to Get to Work? Tell us about it and be counted. I think on a global level, individuals, cities, communities, businesses, schools, churches, clubs, and neighbors joining together can show that on 10.10.10 there's nothing like a global nation getting to work!

Watch the Victory Garden Foundation website for more information about why you should get involved and how you may get involved.
Be a Fan and Like on FaceBook at Victory Gardens for 10-10-10
Follow us on Twitter at VictoryGarden2U
Get more information about the 350.org 10-10-10 Global Work Party.

I'm looking forward to working with you to Get to Work!

Friday, July 16, 2010

We, The People ...

"... have the right the grow our own food, be healthy, active, and pursue happiness in our communities.

In celebration of our country's Independence Day; we bring to you this special edition of Your Victory Garden newsletter. We hope that you enjoy a bit of history and a lot of today's joy in your Victory Garden."

And for those kids from Barretts World in the Garden; here's your answer to 'What is a Victory Garden' 

Click on the Blog Entry Title "We, The People" above for the answer

Friday, May 21, 2010

Victory V Lee: Take Your Shovel on the Road

Victory V Lee: Take Your Shovel on the Road

Take Your Shovel on the Road

Hello Garden Friends,
I think I'm just coming up for a bit of air after the whirlwind 350 Garden Challenge. I'm jazzed about the response received from so many people around the world that are interested in growing food at home. We've just scratched the surface and will continue the movement to get more folks in their garden space to grow food.

Some of our volunteers last weekend just couldn't wait another weekend before getting into their gardens and having Garden Work Parties. We have a couple of them in Berkeley CA this coming weekend that will be huge learning labs and a lot of fun. These hosts are serious about healthy eating. 

This is Bonnie's Back 40x40
There will be a Garden Work Party here this weekend and maybe again soon!

We have projects happening tomorrow and beyond to continue reaching out to gardeners with and without gardens including informational and support meetings for neighbors that want to organize other neighbors in walking distance to grow food at home and work together in their garden space. We call these groups of food growers Victory Garden Networks.

As I visited many of the Garden Work Parties last weekend; I thought about the days in college that I didn't have garden space to grow food. I would grow herbs in the windowsill although it didn't get great sun; but I did get some herbs. Later, I moved to a small townhouse and I planted tomatoes in a pot and placed them on my little 4x3 foot porch :) We couldn't open the screen door all the way because of the tomato plant. That inconvenience was well worth the trouble! :) I planted one zucchini plant and a couple of corn plants (I just love corn's scientific name: Zea Mays) next to the stairs in the back (in about the same amount of space as the front porch size) and made zucchini bread for days! Hmmm ... I'm now a champion Zucchini Bread maker in my own mind.
Claire's Small Space Garden will reap Large Benefits

All the while, I just felt I was missing something. And after all of these years, it occurred to me - If I would have had the opportunity to go to someone's garden to help them grow food; I would have been satisfied. Sure, I got some of my neighbors together to grow food. They had the same small amount of space that I did. I'd tell them about how to grow their food; but with such small space; there was barely the need for one person to maintain the 'garden.' :) If I'd just had the opportunity to go to someone's backyard and help them garden. WoW! That would have been such a treat.
Alice's Frontyard Menagerie with Volunteers ... many are hidden :)

A new proud gardener holding the taproot of a Lemon Sorrel - Who knew we had to dig so deep!
And, learned to use garden tools to prune a pathway to the raised bed

And, I believe that the volunteers without their own garden space (and there are many) that come out to help others in their gardens are very special people. They are satisfied and fulfilled with doing the weed work; removing plants; helping fruit trees to breathe around their drip line; prune unruly fruit trees, herbs, and other plants in the garden. Their reward is knowing that they are sharing! That's the Victory Garden spirit. And, there are volunteers with their own gardens. They could be at home working in their gardens; but they've taken their valuable time to help someone and probably help some plants that need a home. That's special. That's the Victory Garden spirit.

Watching and interacting with others in the garden is a great social activity. Have you heard some of the stories in the garden? Unbelievable! And, Believable. What about the snail story ... comparing shell stripes and finding that "this snail is not for around here!" :)

And weeding and finding unidentifiable plants that have alien looking roots?

Gardening is a trip, an adventure, a wonderful experience! And, especially when you are engaged in an activity that just going to nourish your mind, body, and spirit. And, remember, the vegetables need pollinators so plant some flowers to attract them.

Wherever you are, I encourage you to find a garden to nurture and care for! Keep an eye on our calendar for Garden Work Parties. Organize and add your Garden Work Party to the Calendar and volunteers will come with their garden stories; their shovels; their blank canvass to learn and help; seeds and plants to contribute; favorite dish for a potluck; their personal stories; make new friends; and connect with old friends.

The garden of food is a beautiful thing! I hope to see you in the garden ...


Sunday, May 9, 2010

What to do now?

As we're nearing our big challenge weekend; I thought I'd give you a bit more to think about. You know, when you garden; there's always something to do.

Check it out.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Victory Garden 350 Garden Challenge

Right after my last entry; I received a challenge from a member of the iGrowSonoma team to get involved with getting 350 gardeners to work in their gardens on May 15 - 16, 2010. That was quite a challenge and that has taken be away from the blog. So, I'm taking a little breather this morning (before going to a Garden Work Party) to share this journey with you.

This logo started it all!

So, just about a month ago, I decided to ask The Victory Garden Foundation Inc to take the challenge and register 350 gardens/gardeners to have some gardening fun on one weekend. In less than 48 hours; the website was updated, the maps were prepared to receive the gardens and we were off and running ... of course, with the wonderful help of Lynn Renn with iGrowSonoma. What a champ!

Getting out the word about the challenge has been the main thing. As a new organization, that is always the main thing :)

Now, it's about a month later and one week before the challenge. I'm very excited about how many responses we've received and how many wonderful people I've met through social media and in person. It's such a reward to touch people in this way learning about their passion and desire for being good stewards of our planet, eating healthy, reducing stress, enjoying God's gifts, and connecting and sharing with others. This is the truly the spirit that Victory Garden Foundation was founded.

A small space can reap large benefits

We continue to reach out to encourage the growth of edibles at home leading into next weekend and beyond ... more garden hosts and work crew volunteers are needed. And, I look forward to hearing about all of the gardeners' activities from the Challenge Weekend.

Some people are just sharing a quite, fun weekend with close friends and family in the garden. Others are hosting garden parties with work crews to get some plantings done, view the bee hives, chickens and more. Can you imagine hundreds of locations as the site for hundreds of people getting together to share the wonders of growing food at home? From apartment dwellers with a sunny window, porch or balcony to the abundance of space for urban farm animals and edible crops.

Dog Island Farm in the backyard :)

If you haven't joined in ... please do! Although the numbers are great to have; it's more important that you just get into a garden situation on May 15-16.  Your garden, your neighbor's garden, a public garden! We would love for you to register to let us know that you're gardening and send photos - especially photos from the Challenge Weekend. Have fun, enjoy, and prepare to garden! Check out some of the photos from registered gardeners.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Patchwork Quilt Gardens on the Move

It's been awhile since I posted to my blog ... I've just been busy working in the community helping to prepare backyard and frontyard gardens with our wonderful volunteers helping others grow food at home. Since my last entry; I've logged about 30 hours working in neighbors gardens since February and another 8 hours teaching gardening classes. So on average with all of our volunteers; we've logged about a combined 220 volunteer gardening hours. With each Garden Work Party; we create a gardeners' bond and another resource for food and helping each other to grow the food.

And, you know, each Garden Work Party is a teaching and learning opportunity. While I tend to know more about the edible flowers, herbs, and vegetables; I learn so much more about fruit trees, flowers, other plants, and pests right in their habitats ... not a book! Books are good; but to hear from novice and experienced gardeners is so inspiring and causes me to want to learn more and experiment in the garden more to get some answers. You know, gardeners experiment!

And, it is a wonderful experience. Not only do we build edible gardens; but we build friendships and local resources. There have been so many great people willing to lend their time to help someone else grow food at home. We've had so much fun with the interesting stories from the volunteers who have such diverse experiences, expertise, and careers. And, I must say; our garden hosts have been most generous with sustaining the volunteers with wonderful food and beverage for the heart, soul, and stomach.

I hope you get an opportunity to come to an upcoming Garden Work Party or Garden Class that has an on-site garden to see what the instructor is saying. If you are outside the East Bay CA area; you can still do this. The Victory Garden Foundation Inc will assist you with forming your outreach to your neighbors in the community. Just stop by the website and ask.

So here's a bit of the joy that we've had in our neighbors' gardens building Victory Gardens since Alice's Frontyard Menagerie.

Here are the past GWPs from my viewpoint. I've labeled these efforts for what I felt and experienced from them. I really want to hear from our hosts and volunteers about their viewpoints. I've heard from hosts and volunteers about how much they've appreciated and enjoyed this opportunity. Your voice is valuable. Comment in and keep it real :) Thank you, you're the best! If you had to label a GWP; what would you label it? Let's hear about it and again, Thank you .. V!

The Fruit Garden Party: About 10 volunteers joined in to plant mulberry, apricot, pomegrante, and grapes along with moving some plants to replace with a beautiful wild rose (great herb) and Elderberry (herb shrub) and more food seeds in a large space in the back and side yards. Everyone pitched in to help create an urban farm. Our hosts erected a shed in short order from parts of wooden shipping crates and raise chickens right in the own backyard.

The Small Space Party: About 6-7 volunteers stopped by to remove these plants that seem to grow everywhere in the area ... remember, I'm not a non-food plant expert :) especially the common that grows in the Bay Area CA. Don't ask me the name; but I'll show you a picture and maybe someone can tell me what they are. This small space will yield enough food for a 2-person family to eat healthy from the space for a long time. The host will install a 12"-24" high raised garden bed to grow food right at the bottom of the stairs in a duplex unit. We'll go back to install the raised bed and plant the food. The beverage and snacks were great and gave our volunteers the energy needed to remove those weeds and plants to make room for the food!

The Front Yard Flax Snail Party: About 5 volunteers gathered to chat and work in the front yard to remove an abundance of weeds to prepare to grow food in the front yard. The host has a wonderful back yard of herbs and vegetables growing along with some wonderful like the lilacs that I remember as a child in Michigan. Oh, back to the front yard ... we will be able to literally eat the 'lawn.' We'll go back to the site to complete the job - clear the north side of the yard and plant the food!
At this site, we also cataloged snail families (by their strips) before relocating them to a more suitable situation for the garden ... if you know what I mean :) Too bad we didn't have chickens. But the beekeeper in the back was at work. Now we don't volunteer to help a neighbor because of the food ... but, having a no meat quiche and coleslaw? OK, that's an incentive :)

By the way, the Flax in the garden label you ask? Well, there was this one flax plant surrounded by some much other vegetation. The host insisted that we leave these 2 lanky 1 or 2 stem flax (they're spread). We worked around them, almost trampled them, and really hollered out "watch for the flax" - the red flower. A tiny red flower. We managed to save the flax. It will thrive. It was a bit of fun ensuring the surviving of the flax!

The Victory Garden Party. About 18 class and gardener participates with a morning class and morning to afternoon Garden Work Party. The monstrous, short Meyer Lemon tree and sun lovin' Rosemary bush were pruned to look very prim and proper! Much of the winter weeds were removed to prepare the space for the Victory Garden Foundation's production and demonstration garden. The harvest from these gardens will be donated to volunteers, neighbors, and local food banks. This was a great learning lab experience. There were many folks working and talking about what was being experienced in this and other gardens. The great part of this kind of event (the Garden Work Parties) is that it's an casual, unassuming environment to get your questions answered and build your confidence for growing your food ... community! And, you get to take home some plants for your own garden.

The Victory Party. After a day of classes and 2 Garden Work Parties; gardeners gathered to relax, chat, tell stories, and just enjoy the food after a full day of morning class and early afternoon Garden Work Party ... a grilled turkey, hot links, salads, vegetables, and fruit and herbal tea beverages. I think that my fruit sangria may have a following :) Every once in awhile; we'll have a Victory Party to just get together and chat after weeks of working in the neighborhood gardens.

The Strawberry Party. For awhile, our host has not been able to do a lot with her garden and is looking for gardening partners. But, she has a great strawberry patch, and she loves her tulips (they're big red and whites) in one of her garden beds and fruit trees in her sizable backyard. Although, she wasn't sure about preparing the second garden bed without garden partners; we took care of that one also. There are perennials there now and space for food along with the violets (edible).  Hmm! The herbal tea, deviled eggs, and homemade guacamole among other delectables cannot go unmentioned. We even had a demonstration from Aviad and his wife about his ready to use raised beds. These are a great solution to delineate a space as small as 3x3 which is plenty to grow a lot of food in your yard. And, Luna (their dog) was such a joy to have around in the garden. She was just so excited and friendly; I thought she was going to help us out somehow ... maybe doing some weeding :)

OK, that brings us to now ... gardeners are caring people. We are looking for share garden opportunities for some of our gardeners in the Lake Merritt area (who by the way come to North Oakland to help out); I left a hand tool at a site and a garden brought it to me at home; one of our gardeners consistently brings plants or seeds to the garden site to share; our organizer was found sitting on the ground with bare hands creating a perimeter around a fruit tree so it could breathe ... can you image :) and we just have a down-home good ole time in the yard.

I'm really jazzed that we have Oakland residents (and beyond) who are interested in the movement of growing food at home. This is a great environment for growing food and a wonderful community. I am hopeful that we can expand this effort throughout the area, region, United States, and get more garden hosts and volunteers. I'd like to see more communities organizing Garden Work Parties and In-the-Garden classes to encourage growing your own food; supporting sustainable living; and supporting local farmers when gardening at home is not your option (although I believe that even if you live in the concrete jungle; you can grow something to eat at home - indoors or outdoors in containers). We'll chat more about these growing methods soon.

While we continue to volunteer at residents' homes to grow their own food; we will soon launch a challenge to grow our food at home to connect to the next county (and beyond) with enough gardens to continue our Victory Patch of Victory Gardens ... the quilt work of one garden at a time to create a blanket of gardens. Stay tuned ... more information is coming soon. Save the dates ... May 15 and May 16 to garden at your place or be a part of a crew to garden at a site to grow our food at home. Yes, that's some of the really best food to eat.

Chat with you again soon ... V!

P.S.: For more photos, go to The Victory Garden Foundation Photo Gallery. And to learn about the next Garden Work Parties, check out the Calendar. We encourage you to register as a member of the website so that you are always informed and can reduce the number of emails that you receive. We know that you receive a lot of emails; so if you are a member; you will be able to check out the calendar when you want to and not receive a number of emails. 

The Victory Patch is just one of the sections of a growing your food at home quilt encouraged by The Victory Garden Foundation Inc. If you are registered as a member of one of the websites (at no charge); you are an automatic member of the other website (just use your same username and password). Victory V Lee is the founder of the Victory Garden Foundation Inc (a nonprofit 501c3 community-based organization) and principal partner of The Victory Patch LLC (a for profit organization committed to providing 30% of its revenues to charitable organizations).

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Victory V Lee: Crusin' Saturday

Victory V Lee: Crusin' Saturday

Crusin' Saturday

Hey Friends,
Today has started to be a wonderful weather day and a day to meet new friends and gardeners. After working a bit in The Victory Garden Foundation's demonstration garden; I walked over to a Garden Work Party at Alice's home. Because of another commitment; my plan was to do some power gardening at Alice's for 30 minutes. Well, 30 minutes became 60 minutes. What a wonderful experience.

By the time I left; we had about 6 volunteers stop by to help ... and it was still early. We started with the gardening mantra led by Laurence of Berkeley who was also our minstrel with wonderful song and instrument music; and he is our organizer extraordinaire! Although Alice's passion is rare fruit (and she has a lot in her gardens); she grows plenty vegetables and  herbs ... broccoli rabi, collards, purple and common mustard greens, gooseberries, kale, parsley, strawberries, chicory and more.

While grooming the garden; Alice picked lunch. Hmm! I'm sorry I missed that! But a steady diet of broccoli rabi while working did the trick for me. In my rush, I did not have my camera ... an unusal thing. So, I cannot share through photo. But, trust me ... you will want to be at the next Garden Work Party. You can also host a party and volunteers will come to your yard to help you. If you want a little training before the next party; attend the Grow Your Food 101 at The Victory Garden Foundation on February 20th.

For more information about the Garden Work Parties and Grow Your Food 101 classes, go to The Victory Garden Foundation calendar. If you're interested in hosting a Garden Work Party; let us know. Contact Laurence.

More next time ... V!