Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Policy name: Million Gardens Movement
Overview: The online magazine Modern Farmer and nonprofit organization Big Green have started the Million Gardens Movement, encouraging millions of North Americans to grow their own food in home or community gardens.
Location: North America
Population: 596.6 million
Food policy category: Sustainable agriculture, food security, nutrition
Program goals: To mobilize one million people to grow their own food.
How it works: The Movement’s website provides online lessons and resources for individuals who are interested in starting their own home gardens, along with recipes demonstrating how to cook and eat homegrown produce. Individuals and families are encouraged to register to show their commitment to the movement and share photos of their gardens using the hashtag #MillionGardens.
Donations to the movement will also provide gardening kits with step-by-step instructions and family-friendly activities for underserved families.
In addition, Modern Farmer plans to connect home gardeners with local food banks so they can donate excess produce.
Progress to date: The movement was announced on March 15 and officially launched on March 20, 2021. Five thousand gardening kits were donated to students and families across Chicago in the first week of the program.
Why it is important: The Movement was developed in response to the detrimental effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the economy and food security. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, even prior to the pandemic, 700 million people globally were experiencing chronic hunger, and two billion people lacked particular micronutrients that are key to overall health.
Growing produce at home may help individuals to save money on groceries, increase access to healthy produce, and improve the nutritional quality of their diets, thereby reducing food insecurity and malnutrition.
Program/Policy initiated: The movement was officially launched on Plant a Seed Day, March 20, 2021.
Point of contact:
Million Gardens Movement
Similar practices: During World Wars I and II the victory gardens movement encouraged Americans to grow their own food wherever possible in order to avoid food shortages.
Evaluation: Evaluation has not yet been conducted, as the movement is still in its early stages.
- Backyard Gardening: Grow Your Own Food, Improve Your Health (Harvard Medical School)
- Home Gardening and Urban Agriculture for Advancing Food and Nutritional Security in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (Food Security)
- Home Gardens: A Promising Approach to Enhance Household Food Security and Wellbeing (Agriculture and Food Security)
- The Impact of Gardening on Nutrition and Physical Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (Health Promotion International)
- America’s Patriotic Victory Gardens (History)
- COVID-19 Savages U.S. Economy, 2020 Performance Worst in 74 years (Reuters)
- FAO in North America (Food and Agriculture Organization)
- Food Supply Anxiety Brings Back Victory Gardens (New York Times)
- Give a Garden (Million Gardens Movement)
- Grow a Garden (Million Gardens Movement)
- The Impact of the Coronavirus on Food Insecurity in 2020 & 2021 (Feeding America)
- Improving Nutrition through Home Gardening (Food and Agriculture Organization)
- Kimbal Musk Launches ‘Million Gardens Movement’ (Intelligent Living)
- Million Gardens Movement
- Million Gardens Movement Hopes to Build a Happier, Healthier World Through Home Gardening (Food Tank)
- Modern Farmer and Big Green Launch Million Gardens Movement to Mobilize Millions to Grow Food at Home (PR Web)