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Wuhan Coronavirus and the Food Supply Chain: WWI Victory Gardens Make a Comeback

Wuhan Coronavirus and the Food Supply Chain: WWI Victory Gardens Make a Comeback

“That idea resonates as trips to the grocery store become fraught with fears of coronavirus exposure, and shoppers worry that industrial agriculture could fail them during a pandemic.”

As the Wuhan coronavirus rages across the world and our country, Americans are doing what Americans do.  We buy gift cards or take out from our favorite local restaurants. We pitch in sewing face masks for our neighbors. We play music to cheer our quarantined neighbors, shop for our elderly or at-risk neighbors, and so on.

We are Americans, and we pull together in trying times like this.

But we also know that we cannot ignore the current crisis.  It’s pretty nice to think that our grocery stores will always have whatever we desire, but that’s not really likely, is it?  We have seen an uptick in grocery store workers dying from the Wuhan coronavirus and truckers sounding the alarm. Some blame “panic buying” for the strain on food banks while farmers are destroying their product; it’s really not that simple.

Federal, state, and local regulations impact a farmer’s ability to distribute his products using inspection, labeling, packaging, and union and other contracting.  So, yes, food banks are clamoring for food while farmers are plowing under acres of vegetables and fruit, pouring away gallons of milk, destroying eggs, and killing egg-laying hens by the thousands.  And yes, it costs double for a dozen eggs at the local supermarket. Or it triples.  Demand to know why.

The same is true for most produce and milk products. Farmers can’t sell them via existing regulations and contracts to schools/restaurants/hospitals/etc., so they are destroying their product while food banks beg for food to feed the truly needy.  This is not okay. Ask why. Demand answers.

In the meantime, a lot of Americans are doing what Americans do. We are working toward self-sufficiency in our food supply by reviving the concept of World War I-era “Victory Gardens.”

The New York Times reports:

The victory garden movement began during World War I and called on Americans to grow food in whatever spaces they could — rooftops, fire escapes, empty lots, backyards. It maintained that there was nothing more valuable than self-sufficiency, than working a little land, no matter how small, and harvesting your own eggplant and tomatoes.

That idea resonates as trips to the grocery store become fraught with fears of coronavirus exposure, and shoppers worry that industrial agriculture could fail them during a pandemic.

. . . . With panicked shoppers cleaning out stores, and basic foods like dried beans and potatoes becoming increasingly difficult to track down, even those with no gardening experience are searching for do-it-yourself YouTube videos on how to build a raised bed.

Americans stuck at home under stay-at-home orders, and various other Wuhan coronavirus lockdowns are starting to look to gardening self-sufficiency as a near- to mid-term model.

Politico reports:

— Community gardening is booming as people are eager to grow their own food amid concerns about access during the global coronavirus pandemic. Seed companies are reporting huge spikes in sales, and an organization modeled after the victory garden movement that was popular during wartime launched last week.

. . . . ‘VICTORY GARDENS’ BORN OUT OF CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: The outbreak has sparked a desire among people — many for the first time — to grow their own food, and they’re flocking to garden stores to stock up on seeds and practical knowledge.

As the coronavirus victory gardens trend was taking hold, that woman in Michigan and many of her fellow commie travelers deemed gardening supplies, from soil to fertilizers to the seeds themselves, as “nonessential.” They effectively banned from local purchases at stores like Walmart and Costco.

But you can get seeds online, from those of us who have extras (see LI comments, too), and just from your regular grocery store purchases.  Most store-bought peppers (bell, jalapeno, etc.), tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, cucumbers, melons (all of them) will yield viable seeds that will grow in your garden.

Years ago, I wrote a post on my personal blog about the need to learn about gardening, soil components, and all the other things that will put a screeching halt to the dreams of tossing our survival seeds into a field and reaping a bounty of food.  That is not how it works, not even close.  If that is the plan, you will starve.  Instead, there are so many useful online resources for home gardening that it’s not even funny, so take advantage of them if you think a victory garden is your cup of tea.

Just know that your plants will die, will be infested with disease and pests, and will not always, often, or regularly produce food.  Learn this now.  Those “survival seeds” are nothing if you don’t learn how to grow them to production, right?  That said, I had good luck with a range of vegetables from asparagus to radish to jalapeno peppers.

Know what you can eat. For instance, you can eat radish greens! In fact, you can feed your radishes such that they produce more greens than root. If you want, you can eat all cabbage greens, including the leaves of that Brussels sprout plant that didn’t provide a ton of sprouts. You cannot eat tomato or potato leaves because they are toxic.  Note that I am not an expert, scientist, et al. on this.  Do your research, know what you can and cannot eat . . . and how to successfully grow what you can.

This is stuff you can learn online if you want to create your own victory garden or if you wish to grow your own tomato plant.  I’m not a farmer, and you don’t need to be a farmer to grow your own produce.  You do, however, need to know that it’s not easy and that you don’t just stick a seed in the soil and reap a bounty. It doesn’t work like that at all.

That said, learn how it works, and plant your own victory garden.  That first salad you make with your own home-grown greens, onions, peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes will be the best you will ever be fortunate enough to cherish.


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Seed companies can’t keep up as more Americans turn to growing their own food

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Neo. | April 15, 2020 at 2:16 pm


    Chris Cuomo, Supposedly “In Isolation,” Spotted Visiting a Lot He Had Purchased With His Family and Apparently No Mask;
    Threatens Local Who Asks Him Why He Isn’t in Quarantine

    And that local has filed a criminal complaint against him.

    Note that the property Chris Cuomo was spotted on was his property — but not his residence. It was a lot he had bought, which had no structures on it yet. He was… just visiting it with his family.

    Why? I guess he just wanted to get out and bum around.

    Certainly there is no “essential” reason to visit a vacant lot on Easter Sunday. It’s not like he was meeting a lawyer there about a body found on the property.

    A man still sick with coronavirus….

      I seem to remember that Cuomo is under self-quarantine for COVID-19. Fortunately for him, the name Cuomo means that all rules do not apply to him, AND anyone he infects is at fault.

      Subotai Bahadur

2smartforlibs | April 15, 2020 at 1:15 pm

In some statesw, seeds are outlawed.

    alaskabob in reply to 2smartforlibs. | April 15, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Michigan! Self-sufficiency is forbidden. Lenin tolerated private plots which provided excess food for the economy of the USSR because collective farming was failing. Sta!in destroyed that because true communism couldn’t tolerate the success of capitalism and individual initiative. Plymouth and Jamestown finally succeeded when the commune model was tossed for private plots. Growing ones own food always strikes a blow against the Left’s ideology.

And get some backyard chickens if you can!

    Just get some eggs and plant them. (Did I use a similar joke here before?)

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to DouglasJBender. | April 15, 2020 at 1:47 pm

      Eggs come from eggplants, right?

      Being serious for once, I’ve never grown anything in my life. I may give it a try!

        If you like spicy food peppers are an easy starter veg. Get some bell peppers, jalapenos, or any other pepper type plant. They are very hard to kill. Herbs are also generally easy. Be warned, some herbs like Rosemary self-propagate easily. One Rosemary plant becomes 12 plants very quickly.

          notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to kyrrat. | April 15, 2020 at 2:08 pm

          Same with mint which actually makes a great ground cover.

          I had mine in a large NE quarter-circle bed fronted by classic white daisies. It was great walking by and catching the smell of mint wafting up.

        don’t try planting chickens. you will not get chicken fingers from them.

        neighbors raise hens, we help each other out so I get free eggs (really free range, nice orange yolk) for life. I say they give me too much they say they don’t give me enough so it balances out.
        they run a few gardens, going to plant specific potato variety (kennebec like we planted when I was a kid)and store them (I have no cool dry place to store) and I plant peas/string beans/carrots/tomatoes here.
        sometimes I get good crop sometimes I don’t, just a hobby.

          The Friendly Grizzly in reply to dmacleo. | April 15, 2020 at 3:38 pm

          What about matzoh balls? And, can one use the rest of the matzoh?

          dmacleo in reply to dmacleo. | April 15, 2020 at 4:30 pm

          good question, plant some balls see how they taste and let us know 🙂

          JusticeDelivered in reply to dmacleo. | April 15, 2020 at 5:52 pm

          I have had chickens on and off. There was a lot of trouble with varmints, Coons and what not. I started dumping their caucuses in maggot bucks, 5 gallon pails with a lid, and slots and holes placed so that flies could lay eggs, and so the maggots could find their way out, and the chickens would quickly consume them. That is virtually odor free while the lid is on. Eventually all that is left are bones and fur.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Uncledave. | April 15, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    You don’t even need a rooster to get eggs – just hens.

    Exiliado in reply to Uncledave. | April 15, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    In Miami Dade County, “The raising of poultry or fowl” is illegal “in any Single-family Residential District.”

One good site for such issues as face us now is SurvivalBlog.

Are there seeds for microwave meals?

Morning Sunshine | April 15, 2020 at 2:28 pm

didn’t one of the smartest of those running for president say that this would be easy: put a seed in the dirt, water occasionally, and boom – you got food!

we planted a small one this year, with plans to grow our bigger garden for next year.

One state where victory gardens are not coming back is Michigan, where our fuhrer, I mean governor, (Gretch the Wretch) has banned the sale of seeds as (in what passes for her mind) they are non-essential.

    ronk in reply to bw222. | April 15, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    amazing how the democrats complain that Pres Trump is going to be a dictator, when in fact democratic governors are doing it

    lc in reply to bw222. | April 15, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    But she sure got the message from you Michiganders today!
    What a great protest! Well done and keep it up!

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to lc. | April 16, 2020 at 5:46 am

      She saw and heard protesters. I doubt she got the message. She is probably sharing icc cream with the Speaker of the House.

There are millions of pounds of food in cold / frozen storage now. You may have a difficult time find a specific item but there is no food shortage.
One of the biggest issues is packaging food from restaurant packaging to consumer packaging and getting your product into the large chain supply chain. The bulk producers also have dedicated suppliers and it takes time to get into their systems.
On another front, people will line up for hours to get free food when they can make a short drive to a rural area and make a deal with a farmer and pick your own. This will evolve as the growing regions change throughout the calendar.

I finally got my haircut last Monday after more than 2 months. Gave me a taste of life in utopia.

My barber had to sneak into his own shop from the back as did I. I was also careful to park on the street a couple of blocks away to escape the notice of any possible self-appointed neighborhood commissar. Life in America 2020. I’m not going to take it.

That is how we are going to take this down. Don’t wait for permission. Get back out there and live your lives. The commies don’t have the manpower to stop us once we decide we are not going cooperate with their insanity. They don’t deserve our cooperation.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Pasadena Phil. | April 15, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    If you catch a commisar, and KNOW they are the one who ratted you out, it might be time to introduce them to what we in the navy referred to as a paint locker conversation. Yes, I’m serious.

I am about to give up. I planted a lot of birdseed but no birds are growing.

On a more serious note, my small raised bed gardens are coming along nicely. Corn, pole beans, squash all sprouting and healthy. Tomatoes and pepper plants also doing well.

I planted fruit trees several years ago and have olives, almonds, pomegranate, plums and grapes. Two weeks ago I added apples, pears and a peach. The raised beds I do every year but did a bit more this year due to being at home.

The current commercial formula for feeding people from land under cultivation is one acre per person. The US Farm Bureau places the acreage needed to support one person year round at 2.67 acres. And that is if growing conditions are perfect. So, all urban dwellers and most suburban residents are not going to be able to support themselves with a “victory garden”. So, we need commercial farming. We need working transportation to deliver food to urban and suburban markets, in order to survive.

    alaskabob in reply to Mac45. | April 15, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    “Farming” is lost on the woke generations. Just ask Biden and Bernie. With the GND the basic question is “who do you select to die?”

    Close The Fed in reply to Mac45. | April 15, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Yes, but it helps.

    Plus gardening gives you a perspective you lack when you never make anything.


You point out an important but sometimes overlooked distinction. Farming is work while gardening is a hobby. The methods and scale of effort, equipment and production capacity is vastly different.

The issue we have now is our agricultural production is basically split between that intended for retail (grocery stores) and that intended for commercial use; restaurants, cafeterias, school lunch rooms etc.

Conservative Treehouse has an excellent series that lays out the supply chain and how the restaurant shutdowns are impacting agriculture. Basically it comes down to the difference in the quantity size of the containers used. Retail milk in gallon and half gallon while commercial size is way bigger. The plants that process milk are sending out full normal capacity to retail side but can’t ship to commercial side. That is why milk is dumped.

Recommend everyone take a look at that article over at Conservative Treehouse for some interesting perspective.

    DSHornet in reply to CommoChief. | April 15, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    I saw an article almost the same with commercial vs. retail toilet paper. The commercial is poorer quality and on huge rolls with no center spindle. The retail is the small rolls the purple bears like to use. The plants are wide open with the purple bear rolls and almost idle with the John Wayne toilet paper – you know, rough and tough and don’t take no $#!^ off nobody.

I was not blessed with a green thumb. Given an infinite supply of garden seeds and as much dirt as I can till, I will be found starved to death within a year. And in irony, the only place things will grow is where my body decays.

I can grow okra. That’s about it.

    Okra is a great veg to be able to grow! It’s high in protein and fiber and has some essential vitamins like A, C, and K (the K can be a problem for those on blood thinners, etc., though). Anyway, it is super easy to grow because it doesn’t need a lot of attention and can stand a missed watering or three. Other things that are easy to grow along those lines are many herbs (mint, basil, rosemary, lavender) and some edible flowers (nasturtiums, clover, dandelions). Also, toss some bush beans or spring onions in the same soil, and they’ll do fine, too. 🙂