Target: US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Goal: Cut pollution, improve health, increase food security, and promote sustainability by encouraging citizens to grow home gardens.
During WWII the USDA led a campaign encouraging every home to grow a “Victory Garden” in support of the war effort. It was a great success. They were also found in many public spaces. The majority of our fruits and vegetables were produced locally at that time.
Now we find ourselves in an era where ecology is ravaged by economy. Areas that produce massive amounts of food export most of that food and import most of the food that is consumed there. This increase in “food miles,” the distance between a unit of food’s source and the plate on which it is consumed, carries heavy environmental and health consequences.
Almost all of our food is now produced by massive commercial operations. These operations misuse large tracts of land nationwide. These abuses are one of our major sources of industrial pollution and land degradation. They have the potential to turn the entire nation into a full-blown desert. They are the reason that poison is ending up in our food and our water supplies.
The transport of import/export food is a huge contributor to carbon emissions. Ever tried to breathe the air in Los Angeles? It’s not pretty. That smog is what import/export foods are contributing to our atmosphere.
The more distance between a food’s source and destination, the more hands it changes, the more chance there is of contamination of many types, and the less accountability there is when this happens. The greater this distance, the more necessary it becomes to process the food in some way. We end up with foods dipped in wax, irradiated, and exposed to all sorts of light. The more this occurs, the more potential there is to introduce something unhealthy, and the more the food is stripped of nutrients.
End all these problems by urging the USDA to bring back the Victory Garden campaign.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
During WWII, the USDA successfully promoted the Victory Garden campaign in support of the war effort. The Victory Garden is needed just as much today as it was then. We have made a dangerous shift from relatively self-reliant communities to being overly reliant on food import and export. We have become over-reliant on large scale commercial agriculture and factory farms.
Between the hyper-industrialization of food and the increase in the distance each bite of food travels from its origin to its destination, we have opened the door to a whole host of problems that didn’t previously exist. Commercial food production is polluting the landscape, pumping toxins into our food and environment, and promoting erosion and desertification at unprecedented levels. The great increase in “food miles” is responsible for massive amounts of pollution of various sorts, offers food of inferior nutrient content, introduces contaminants, and decreases accountability.
I urge you to bring back the Victory Garden campaign. I urge you to issue a call to arms, so to speak, reminding the US that the need for local food is just as real today as it was in the 1940s. I urge you to be a Secretary of State who improves our nation’s health, environment, and food security.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Morley