During World War II, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt encouraged Americans to participate in America's Victory Garden movement by planting a vegetable garden on the front lawn of the White House. Inspired by her example, millions of Americans planted gardens. The result? More than 40% of the fresh fruits and vegetables consumed during 1943 were produced in school, home and community gardens. With the current economic conditions placing a tremendous strain on household budgets nationwide, Americans are now ready to bring back the "Victory Garden" idea.

Today’s Victory Gardens

The "Eat the View" campaign is educating Americans on the economic benefits of home gardens. They estimate that a 1,600-square-foot garden in a northern climate such as Maine provides a family with about $2,150 in produce per year. Here in Escondido, with our mild climate, the savings could even be greater.

Nationally, First Lady Michelle Obama has brought back the Victory Garden at the White House. California First Lady Maria Shriver has announced plans to plant a California Victory Garden on the capitol grounds in Sacramento. Now, Escondido is poised to launch its own version of the Victory Garden in our neighborhoods city-wide.

Neighborhood Victory Gardens in Escondido

In addition to coordinating Escondido's three existing community gardens, the Neighborhood Services Division will be partnering with organized neighborhood groups to build small Neighborhood Victory Gardens. Funding is available to help with tools, supplies, plants and seeds. Neighborhood groups will provide the labor and enjoy the fruits of the harvest. Apartment complexes are encouraged to partner with the City under the "Adopt a Lot" program to use vacant lots, flood control right of ways and other smaller parcels of land that are not being used for their own Neighborhood Victory Gardens. One local nursery has already offered to donate seeds and plants to neighborhood groups willing to set up a Neighborhood Victory Garden.

In addition to providing a neighborhood group or apartment complex with fresh produce, the Neighborhood Victory Gardens will provide an opportunity for exercise and a respite from the cramped quarters of apartment life. Instead of fast food and junk food, Neighborhood Victory Gardens can help teach our Escondido youth to have better nutrition, better health and better productivity.

If your neighborhood group or apartment complex would like to start a Neighborhood Victory Garden, please contact the City of Escondido's Neighborhood Services Division at 760-839-4579.