Saturday, March 20, 2010

University of California Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative

Grow LA!

Rachel A. Surls

Friday March 12 2010

With more than 10 million residents, and a climate conducive to year-round growing, Los Angeles County is a gardener's paradise. Gardening has always been popular in Los Angeles but recently has become an even greater passion. This trend is evident nationally, with a 19% increase in Americans growing their own food, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Gardening Association. In the current economic situation, gardening is an important strategy to help families improve their food security. However, vegetable gardening can be intimidating for beginners, who need extra support.

With the help of our dedicated UC Master Gardener Volunteers and many community partners, UC Cooperative Extension has organized a new initiative to help Los Angeles County residents become successful vegetable gardeners. The Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative will offer a low-cost, four-session class, held at 10 locations around Los Angeles County, where new gardeners will learn the basics of successful vegetable gardening. These "Victory Garden Circles" will provide not only basic lessons, but also a way to stay in touch with fellow gardeners, ask questions, and share produce. Groups are gearing up to start in late March and early April. Participants who complete all four classes will become UC Certified Victory Gardeners. A google map shows the locations and contact information for each site. We hope to start ten more sites in the fall.

Why victory gardens? We've named the initiative for the World War II Victory Garden movement that inspired Americans to grow as much as 40% of the nation's fresh produce. (You can see one of the popular Victory Garden posters of the era, below.) Today, gardens will help us achieve victory over poverty, food insecurity, and lack of fresh, quality food.

The Grow LA blog will provide victory gardening tips and highlights from our Master Gardener Volunteers and their Victory Garden Circles around Los Angeles. We hope you continue to visit the blog, and our Initiative web page. Welcome!

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