There are certainly those who will always garden- for food, for pleasure, for the feeling of productivity, for health and excersize, for nutrition, for love of the outdoors. There are thousands of reasons people find a relationship with plants important.
Chinampas, incredibly productive garden plots invented by the Aztecs around 1150 – 1350 CE.
To learn lots and lots about history urban gardening in the United States keep travelin down….
Below are individual pages with an overflowing bounty of information:
Soldiers stand to attention holding their gardening tools for their plots. 1941.
Urban Agriculture is thought to have evolved from the European system of allotment gardens. These gardens, similar to the plots found around mideaival cities, first appeared around the edges of towns in the 18th century due to “agricultural transformation, urbanization and industrialization.” (Warner, 1987) in countries such as Germany, England, Sweden, and Holland. Immigrants from these countries took allotment gardens to the United States where they became important for food security in poor urban areas such as Boston and New York (Williamson).
Photos of New York City Tenements by Jacob Riis, 1895
Urban relief gardens played an important role in sustaining large populations of Americans during economic depressions. At the same time, upper-class city dwellers became worried about crime, safety, and cleanliness of cities. The began the City Beautiful Movement, a reform movement to clean up and revitalize urban centers and create beautiful spaces. This movement sparked the start of school gardens and garden clubs in the vacant lots and backyards of many cities.
An advertisement to save food during World War II
War gardens played an important role in the nation-wide effort to help win both World War I and World War II. These victory gardens made gardening a patriot activity and introduced gardening as an activity for everyone, not just those too poor to buy their own food.
Later, in the late 1960s and 1970s, community gardening started to make a comeback as a hobby. Organic gardening and community farms became popular and many cities around the country started community gardening programs for their residents.