Studio Lily Kwong’s mission is to reconnect people to nature and to create community. In direct response to the most harrowing public health crisis of our lifetime, the ‘Freedom Gardens’ initiative aims to help our community grow thriving edible gardens to support their physical and mental health, and safeguard them from a volatile centralized food system and a collapsing job market.
The studio looked to history and learned that a campaign for ‘Victory Gardens’ started in the context of another pandemic, the infamous influenza outbreak of 1918. These vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted in backyards, empty lots and city rooftops across the nation were promoted by the US government, and Victory Gardens flourished again during WW2.
It’s estimated that home, school and community gardeners produced close to 40 percent of the country’s fresh vegetables from about 20 million gardens – or an astonishing 9-10 million tons of produce, an amount equal to all commercial production of fresh vegetables in the early 1940s.
“It’s time to revive gardening as a civic duty during this moment of peril and crisis. Nothing will be more valuable at this pivotal moment than self-sufficiency.”
It’s time to revive gardening as a civic duty during this moment of peril and crisis. To grow our own food is to protect ourselves from food insecurity and injustice, it is to live in freedom from a precarious and inequitable global food system. To get our hands in the earth is to boost our spirits, and to relieve our stress and anxiety. To connect with the land available to us – even if it is just a small pot of soil on our fire escapes – is to take our power back. To cultivate abundance in our own backyards is to create more resilient communities. To feed ourselves with fresh, untainted fruit and vegetables will empower us. To free ourselves from illness (both societal and physical), the time is now to grow stronger together and plant the seeds for a new world.
We are on this journey with you. We are in this fight with you. At Studio Lily Kwong, we are new to urban farming and will share resources and our honest experiences as we develop our own backyard “Freedom Gardens” for the first time. Reach us at email@example.com if you have ideas, submissions or want to collaborate, and join the conversation on our Instagram (@lily_kwong). Watch this space for more updates as we work towards building our own community-based security and a greener, more soulful future.
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