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Victory gardens were established during a time of crisis. They were needed to help provide food for civilians during World War I and WWII. They were a sign of hope and unity. Hope that the war would end, troops would come home and life could resume like normal again. It brought unity in that the civilians and military were working against a common enemy.
It seems our nation is suffering from crisis again. My desire is to help unify our country by literally putting roots in the ground. To slow down and relearn that kindness and sharing space is not old-fashioned and out of style, but an absolute necessity to live fruitful, productive and responsible lives.
I like the diversity a garden brings. It’s refreshing to harvest all different fruits, vegetables, herbs and even flowers to beautify and fill our landscape with nourishment and depth. Each produce has its own rhythm and cadence that we cannot rush or change.
We cherish what each seed becomes. An apple will not become a bean — and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Each and every growing thing brings value and makes our lives richer and fuller and more colorful. As much as I love tomatoes, only having tomatoes would be a very bland diet. But when you add cilantro and peppers and onions, you can spice things up with salsa. If you add lettuce, carrots and cucumbers to tomatoes, you have a lovely salad.
Diversity doesn’t have to bring division. Diversity can be celebrated and shared and bring more flavor to our lives.
I have no doubt our country will have permanent changes, just like we experienced after 9/11. I pray that we extend grace to one another and give room for our gardens and our diversity to bloom. Typically, a garden is not perfect, but each year we put seeds in the ground, we improve our skills and techniques.
I look forward to growing victory gardens in our communities and I know we can create a community that embraces and celebrates all varieties — and our children will reap the harvest.
This is a zucchini bread that my grandmother loved to bake.
DeeAnn Rivera is a Spring Hope resident and garden enthusiast who blogs at www.VictoryGardenGal.com.
• 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini, lightly packed. Do not drain liquid, do not peel
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup applesauce
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, add the grated zucchini, sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, oil, eggs and vanilla. Whisk until well combined.
3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir just until moist, do not over mix.
4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 54 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread should come out with moist crumbs on it.
5. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before slicing.