To the editor:

When I read your article about the return of the victory garden (”A century later, victory gardens connect Americans again,” April 23), I had just planted lettuce and peas, a spring ritual I have enjoyed since childhood. I learned about gardening from my grandmother, whose Depression-era Pittsburgh garden fed her family, as well as many homeless men who knocked at her back door, desperate for food. She boasted that her garden expanded during World War II, when it became a true victory garden.

My grandmother gardened without pesticides, an important practice for today. A particular type of pesticide, known as neonictinoids, is dangerous to pollinators such as native bees, honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Since pollinators are responsible for every third bite we eat, we need to protect them from poisons.

Little did my grandmother know that she was gardening according to the “slow food” movement, which encourages us to eat foods grown locally — both for improved taste and freshness, but also because we reduce emissions when food travels shorter distances. My grandmother would be proud to know that she was looking forward, many years ago, showing us how to live in a healthier, more sustainable way.

Liza Ketchum


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