Gardening with History

As you may know, our original garden at Peterson and Campbell was a WW2 Victory Garden. Our name "Peterson Garden" comes from that location. The "Project" part stems from our desire to use the WW2 model to see if it would work in our age. And we learned quickly, at that first garden in 2010, that our goal of getting neighbors together on short-term land to grow, learn and connect was a good one. Worked in the 1940's - works now!

Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland

Peterson Garden Project has written a book that compiles the knowledge we've gained over the last four years teaching hundreds of people how to grow their own food. And we're ready to share it with anyone who wants to learn.

A Gardening Lesson From WW2: Keep It Simple Stupid

My father was in the Occupied Forces of Japan during WW2 and that experience influenced his life profoundly… he had a lot of wartime expressions peppering his conversations (and a few fun songs too, like this). He particularly liked mentioning the KISS Principal (keep it simple stupid) when I tended to complicate things. Of course,

History Re-Eating Itself

There’s been a lot to report over the past few months. The Peterson Garden Project is truly becoming a project vs. just a single garden which we’re all very excited about. 2012 is the 70th anniversary of the first year of WW2 and the first historic Victory Garden summer. Since The Peterson Garden Project had brought awareness

Chicago Victory Gardens 101

This post first appeared in April of last year. We were just starting plans for The Peterson Garden Project which became the largest edible, organic community garden in Chicago. As much of a novelty as our garden was last year – developing almost overnight on private land – I have heard of numerous other “pop-up”

Chicago Victory Gardens 101

When this post first appeared in April of this year, the garden you see above was a weedy, nasty urban lot. Within six weeks hundreds of neighbors, volunteers and friends had transformed it into the largest community edible garden in Chicago. The post below talks about the amazing achievements of Chicagoans in 1943. The Peterson

Block Captain Duties – Update

One of our volunteers found a newspaper article from May 21, 1942 that talked about the original garden dedication. It didn’t reveal too many mysteries other than that a flag was raised, a prayer said and that the Senn High School band played. But it provided plenty of inspiration! In the spirit of my WW2

Teaching New Gardeners… My how things change

The Peterson Garden Project (and my self appointed Block Captain duties) have made me think really hard about how to get all the stuff I know about edible gardening out of my head and "down on paper" for the many novice gardeners growing with us this season.

Top 10 Trivia: WW2 Chicago Victory Gardens

The year – 1943 – was a banner growing season for Chicago Victory Gardens. As the war was in its second year, Chicagoans rallied community-by-community to do all they could for the effort and to alleviate the shortages caused by the largest international conflict of all time. As transportation resources were diverted to moving troops

Eating History: Vintage Veggies

Researching, writing and talking about the "lost list" got me wondering about what those vegetables grown almost 70 years ago might have tasted like and how they might be different (better? worse? same?) than the varieties we grow today.