food sustainability

Green America’s Climate Victory Gardens

‘Dig for victory’ was a slogan from the Second World War, calling people to plant vegetable gardens in support of the war effort. The idea has been turned over by Green America, who have been encouraging people to plant Climate Victory Gardens.

The project has been running for a couple of years now, and it connects climate change and gardening in a useful way, empowering people to do something local in their own areas. It also shows the difference between sustainability and regenerative practice in very down to earth terms, encouraging people to garden in a way that locks up carbon in the soil.

Small gardens are not going to make a huge difference to emissions on their own, but they raise awareness of approaches that, when scaled up to commercial farms, will make a very large difference. And the project invites people to log their garden on a map of Climate Victory Gardens, showing the cumulative effect that lots of individual projects add up to.

Featuring this project is also a way of highlighting Green America. I don’t know much about them or what their profile is Stateside. What I do know is that a number of NGOs and campaigns are currently wrestling either with incorporating a social justice angle into their environmentalism, or climate action into their social mission. Green America is an organisation that has always done both, and it’s worth a look to see how they bring the various strands of their work together.


  1. “Small gardens are not going to make a huge difference to emissions on their own”. Or could they? In the same way that huge numbers of electric cars can make their batteries available to balance the grid, huge numbers of small gardens ran ecologically WILL make a difference.
    Take our own example – our entire plot, house and all, is just 6x30m, yielding perhaps 20sqm of raised beds, plus numerous patio pots and planters, yet from this, combined with leaf fall from the park we back onto, and kitchen waste, I make 300l of compost every year, obviating the need to buy in compost for all those pots as well as raising those beds.
    Whilst ever gardening is seen as a consumer activity, based on the ubiquitous garden centre – which saw huge demand when recently reopened after lockdown – gardens will in fact be a net omissions generator – again on a huge scale. Most of our neighbours put their garden and kitchen waste in the bin – which here in Sheffield is incinerated.
    What’s more I do gardening for ‘beer money’ locally on a plot which is three big old houses in a leafy suburb converted to offices with the gardens mostly car parks – 1760sqm in total. Yet from this I get 0.5 cubic metres of compost and nearly 1 cubic metre of leaf mould every year, which goes to the extraordinarily grateful users of a local allotment.
    Scale this up and we would have Climate Victory, so I would love this sort of thing to happen in the UK as well.

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