Social distancing and school closures gave families more time together to do fun projects, like gardening. (AP)

Social distancing and school closures gave families more time together to do fun projects, like gardening. (AP)

Classes may be closed. But Malcolm Evans, manager of a community farm in Chicago, says he's still growing food for others. (AP)

Classes may be closed. But Malcolm Evans, manager of a community farm in Chicago, says he's still growing food for others. (AP)

People of all ages can garden! Brenda Flowers (left) and 96-year-old Lorraine Tyree water their plants in Crystal River, Florida. (AP)

People of all ages can garden! Brenda Flowers (left) and 96-year-old Lorraine Tyree water their plants in Crystal River, Florida. (AP)

Tomato seedlings emerge from their pellets. Backyard gardeners shared stories online about growing vegetables, fruits, and flowers. (AP)

Tomato seedlings emerge from their pellets. Backyard gardeners shared stories online about growing vegetables, fruits, and flowers. (AP)

Seeds sold out fast at the start of lockdowns, creating demand at garden centers and huge backlogs on seed company websites. (AP)

Seeds sold out fast at the start of lockdowns, creating demand at garden centers and huge backlogs on seed company websites. (AP)

Planting Victory

Posted: July 1, 2020

“Food will win the war!”

During World War I, posters encouraged Americans to grow “victory gardens.” A hundred years have passed since then. But the victory garden is back. Instead of painted posters, we see gardening posts on Instagram. Home gardeners whip out their gloves and start to plant again. This time they say, “Growing food will give us victory in the pandemic!”

The coronavirus has disrupted food supply chains. When that happens, food becomes more expensive in some places. This makes people want to grow their own. At Burpee Seeds, business doubled during the pandemic. Across the United States, stores are selling out of flowers, vegetable plants, seeds, garden soil, and compost.

Gardeners new and old post pictures of freshly tilled backyards, raised garden beds, seeds under grow lights, or flocks of chickens. Facebook groups like Victory Garden 2020 or Victory Garden Over COVID-19 are filling up. Who are these gardeners? Some are parents at home with bored kids. Some are growers in cities working hard to feed needy families.

Some new victory gardeners are planting because they lost their jobs. Emanuel Sferios lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was a contract worker before the virus. Now his work has dried up. He borrowed a tiller from a neighbor and dug a 30-by-30-foot garden in his backyard. He filled it with compost and planted lettuce, beets, kale, and broccoli. He plans to grow squash, melons, tomatoes, and peppers too.

“It’s not like we needed this in order to get groceries,” says Mr. Sferios. “It’s more like, wow, what do I do now? I don’t have work, and I have all this time on my hands.”

Faith helps a lot in times like these. Farmers and gardeners can’t control the weather, just like people can’t control a virus. But they can sow seeds in faith that God will provide.