How “What the World Eats” Inspired a Modern Victory Garden

By MK Martin

This morning, we drove to several different counties so we could visit their respective farm stores. They are the only places operating as usual, with their entire supply chain found within a 25km radius. The beef in the lasagna I chose from a prepared food section is raised across the ‘street’.

We have decided to buy as much of our food from these stores, during this time of strange panic buying and Fallout level hoarding, because careful and consistent food production is their way of life.

They already know to put food by in case something out of their control affects the harvest.
They already live somewhat far apart, but in plain view of their neighbors, maximizing space and letting the land motivate their decisions.

That means there’s always bread for tea. At least, that’s what my children think.


Taking them to small, family-operated stores where they can often see the fields the food is coming from is one step we’ve taken to try and impress upon them how precious abundant food really is.

In the coming weeks, I’m hoping to grow food with them, as well, that we can not only eat, but preserve for next winter. Compelled by their governments, our grand and great grandparents grew Victory Gardens not only to feed themselves, but to contribute to the meals of their usually desperate armies.

Ours will be a modern garden for a modern victory: to produce a percentage of the food we consume, and take some of the burden off the system. Our need to be provided with a visual example of abundance keeps the oceans empty, and the cost too high for most people to afford that abundance.

Related post: Victory is Sustainable—Local, Seasonal Food is the Way to Grow

For many, access to growing fresh, wholesome food isn’t that simple. Space to grow food, knowledge of what to do and how to get started, and other impediments keep people locked into the idea that grocery stores are the only place they will be fed from.

However, with travel bans firmly in place in efforts to quell a pandemic, the human labor most farms have relied on for a long time won’t be able to enter the country. Given that many are also incarcerated in overcrowded concentration camps in this odd, and increasingly Dystopian timeline, a major flaw in our food production is exposed.

Will you always be able to buy three cucumbers for a dollar, if pandemic paranoia keeps the food stuck at the border?


Last Friday, I brought home a book called What the World Eats. It’s a photo essay shot by Peter Menzel and written by Faith D’Aluisio. The pages show different families from every corner of the globe, with a week’s worth of their usual food. Some food bills soar in the upper hundreds, while others have $1 a day to put together three daily meals for their entire family.

It shows how women are viewed in terms of their role in food production. How many people live in urban versus rural areas, and how that impacts the kind of food they buy. Packaged food is predominantly found in more affluent, urban areas. Luxuries like sugar are never found in the grocery list of a family living in a refugee camp.

We can see their kitchens, their smiles, their long walks for daily water, and the way they break their bread. The kids find it fascinating. My youngest isn’t sad about it, but she is definitely excited to grow her own salad. My eldest has had her hands in the dirt since she could crawl, finds the western cultural focus on eating difficult, and is interested in learning more.

As we spend more time getting up close and personal with local food production, we will update you here with photos, drawings and hopefully recipes, if all goes well.

child planting seeds



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