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Back in the Day: Home gardens a renewed tradition, following Victory Gardens, country life

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She grew vegetables on a mountainside without a road, electricity, or modern conveniences, so she knew it was possible.

By Janie Mae Jones McKinley
Blue-Ridge Now
June 21, 2021


During the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, we experienced empty shelves and purchasing limits at grocery stores.

Millions of Americans staying home during springtime immediately thought of growing their own vegetables in the backyard. In fact, home gardens hadn’t been so popular since the Victory Garden campaign during World War II.

Garden supply stores, near and far, almost sold out of seeds, fertilizer, plants, trowels and shovels. The interest in gardening has continued in 2021 as folks really enjoy their own fresh vegetables.

Homegrown food was simply a way of life for Granny, and she couldn’t have imagined not planting vegetables every year. Although she didn’t talk specifically about Victory Gardens, I remember a day trip through lofty mountains near the Tennessee state line.

As we admired the scenery, Granny was reminded of news programs she’d heard on the battery radio about overcrowded cities.

She wondered aloud why thousands of people couldn’t move to such isolated mountains and grow gardens. To her way of thinking, the idea seemed logical: They needed dependable access to food. And, as we crested yet another scenic mountaintop, she saw “plenty” of land.

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