Media & Web Watch for 17 May 2010

The ol’ RW&G Media & Web Watch is back–new and improved! It still keeps track of the emerging Victory Garden revival, but now it’s a little bit… sassier.

Look for it here bi-weekly unless there’s just too much to share. Also, feel free to send relevant links to me (stories, posts, garden pictures) via comments (below),  Twitter, or Facebook. (Photos of your garden welcome, too, on the FB page!)

Peterson Garden Par-tay!


Remember Peterson’s Garden up in Chicago being mentioned here late last week? Wanted to give it another plug today because… it’s simply brilliant! Blogger Anthony Todd at Chicagoist thinks so, too.

As you can see from the graphic at left, the Peterson Garden has a fundraiser coming up, so if you’re in Chicago and can swing it (har), do go!

The roots for Peterson’s date back to the 1940s, but it comes quickly on the heels of similar community-centered “victory garden revivals” (most notably in San Francisco) and relies heavily on social media to connect gardeners to one another. As such, it’s a very “modern” victory garden.

From the garden’s Web site:

“The Peterson Garden Project is an organic, community vegetable garden on the corner of Peterson and Campbell in Chicago’s 40th Ward. Thanks to Asian Human Services (for letting us use the lot) and the incredible support of Alderman Patrick O’Connor and his team, neighbors will once again be able to garden on this historic strip of Peterson Avenue.

Our site was part of an original WW2 Victory Garden from 1942-1945. This revival Victory Garden is being launched for the 2010 growing season for Chicago residents who, like those gardeners almost 70 years ago, want to work with their neighbors to grow their own food.”

LaManda, the project’s organizer, may post her insider’s POV here once things get settled with the garden. Until then, check out one of her RW&G earlier posts as well as her personal site,

The Mash-Up:

What is it with Illinois this year? Could it be that the state is welcoming back @KissMyAster  (“Where Absolutely Fabulous Meets the Victory Garden” on from Indiana with a big ol’ Victory Garden push? For example, check out this article from Batavia re: the Geneva History Center’s Victory Garden.

On the Bandwagon: Down in Florida, a local permaculturist named Robert Segundo used the “victory garden” name to draw in locals wanting to learn about homestead gardening this past Saturday. Other places and spaces catching on to the victory garden idea: Petroskey, Michigan and Des Moines. Wonderful story up in Denver, Young Gardeners Hear from Veteran How Nation Harvested Sense of Unity in WWII.

Expect more stories of these sort as summer makes its way North. We’ll see peak “buzz” about victory gardens–old and new–from now to September.

Picturing Royalty: Re: the post about “Victory Garden Queens,” I stumbled across a pro-victory garden revival article with a marvelous picture of a 1940s-era female gardener. (Go look!) She’s wearing one of those striped, French-style shirts that are so trendy again. Yup, Breton tops are very cute and popular, too, in the UK.

On a related note (to gardens, not trendy clothing), this weekend I found a short article in the 30 January 1943 issue of The Rock Hill Herald illustrated with a photo of Esther Williams and a basket of fruit. The image was too poor to reproduce here (hence the pin-up shot), but this was the blurb:

There had to be one, and here she is–Hollywood’s Victory Garden Queen [emphasis mine]. Esther Williams, one-time international swim champion, isn’t fooling when she urges everybody to help ward off food shortages by planting victory gardens.

The Good Doctor: Speaking of California Victory Garden queens, hail to Rose  Hayden-Smith (@victorygrower) for completing her doctorate this spring. Her dissertation covers early 20th century garden efforts.  Congrats, Dr. Rose!

The Victory Garden Meme Goes POP! (Culture): Expect more on this whole “victory garden queens” notion here,  and not just because of this rather curious quote by Cynthia Nixon in an piece about Sex and the City 2 (or, as a I call it, Part Deux: Sex and the Abu Dhabi WHAT?!?!?)

Ever wonder what would happen if Sex and the City went all Roland Emmerich and cranked out a disaster movie? Or went on a Kubrickian space odyssey? While talking to EW for the current Sex and the City 2 cover story, Cynthia Nixon said she, her costars, and writer-director-producer Michael Patrick King all have. And what do they imagine? “There’s a terrible war and all the men are drafted. We all have to move in and start a victory garden together,” Nixon says… [If you must read the rest of this riveting piece, click here]

Learning Curve: On the RW&G Facebook page last week (which has over 250 251 fans!), Elizabeth from Hyperlocavore introduced us to the idea of “beyond organic,” which she explained as:

“…just a way to say more sustainable than the government ‘organic’ labeling system which has been so diluted by the big growers. If I grow it in my back yard – I can go far beyond USDA regs…Not for everyone..but still a great way to go if you want a hobby that pays back..”

Yeah, But Did She Do All That in a Striped Breton Shirt? Seen that big cover story in May 2010’s Conde Nast Traveler about Mrs. Obama’s Washington? Inside, the White House garden gets a mention:

“…If you were going to list the hundred most popular things that I have done as president,” Mr. Obama declared the morning after his first State of the Union speech, “being married to Michelle Obama is number one.”

Talk about lists. Busy mom, vegetable gardener, sower of seeds (real and symbolic), champion of military families, Mrs. America on trips abroad, local food bank volunteer, hula-hooper (142 spins), double Dutch jump-roper, political spouse, this Princeton-primed, Harvard Law-trained, former legal-aid volunteer, corporate lawyer specializing in intellectual property (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was a client), hospital executive, community organizer, and newly emerging Nutritionist-in-Chief, fittingly Secret Service code-named Renaissance, has both domesticated and recharged the White House. She has done it through such local-global acts as planting, with the help of D.C. schoolchildren, an eleven-hundred-square-foot vegetable patch on the South Lawn (“It has produced much more than we could consume. We give it away”), the first kitchen garden on White House grounds since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden during World War II, and the first step in Mrs. Obama’s campaign for a healthier nation.”

Also, my mother saw Cat Cora‘s visit to the WH garden on television recently and couldn’t wait to fill me in on the show. I guess someone had to call in to the Secret Service before they could check it out? Mom was intrigued. 

Wise Woman of the Web: A splendid post re: basic gardening tips is up over at author Sharon Astyk‘s blog. While there, poke around to read some of her other writings. Astyk’s ongoing commitment to educating the public about peak oil–and providing us all with strategies to address the coming problem, remains remarkable.

You Say Tomato, I Say #$%@!: The latest update on how our home garden grows is up at Several experts–in two states, btw–have weighed in on what’s the matter with my tomatoes. We’ll see how it goes this week. (Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve stopped worrying too much. They are, after all, just ‘maters.)

Knickers in a Twist Over Garden Theft? Interesting British story about home insurance being used to protect garden contents.

FINALLY… Something to Watch Now that Desperate Housewives is on Hiatus: Fans of joe gardener (aka Joe Lamp’l and @joegardener) will want to check their local PBS listings to see if his new show, Growing a Greener World with co-host Patti Moreno is in the line-up. If not, please take a minute to write/tweet/email/call along with this link to your local affiliate. (Many of you will remember Joe’s nifty $25 Victory Garden exercise last year, which helped land him on Good Morning, America.)

Parting Thoughts: 

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”–Eleanor Roosevelt

“Which Esther Williams do you want to hear about?”–Esther Williams

One comment

  1. Thanks so much for the mention of our new gardening show! We really appreciate the support. We can’t wait for everyone to see what we have been up to. I know you will especially love the episodes on Urban Homesteading and Victory Gardens!

    Theresa Loe
    Associate Producer
    Growing A Greener World

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