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This World War I Era Tradition Is Making A Come Back In Ohio

If you’re looking to take a dive into gardening this spring, you should definitely take advantage of The Victory Gardens program.

The Victory Gardens program is a collaboration between the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio State University that provides free garden seed sample packets to Ohioans to inspire them to raise their own vegetables.

The concept of Victory Gardens originated over 100 years ago during World War I. It was an answer to a severe food shortage, encouraging people go grow their own food. The plan was wildly successful and participants got very into gardening (and being patriotic).

World War I era US poster by James Montgomery Flagg, 1918, lithograph, color; 56 x 36 cm. Columbia (female allegorical personification of the United States of America) broadcasts seeds in a plowed field. Text:”Sow the Seeds of Victory! Plant and raise your own vegetables”…”Every garden a munition plant”. Urging civilians to raise their own food to free up resources for the war effort.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture and OSU is bringing back the effort to inspire people to get their hands in the garden.

In 2023, each seed sample envelope will contain carrot, cucumber, lettuce, and sunflower seeds to plant a few rows. All of the seeds are non-GMO (non-Genetically Modified Organism).

Although not all of Ohio’s counties are able to participate in the program, over half are, including Franklin County. By 2025, the program hopes to be extended to all 88 counties in Ohio.

Green counties represent counties where Victory Garden seeds are available. Map via Ohio Department of Agriculture
Each county will get 300 seed envelopes that contain sample packets of carrot, cucumber, lettuce, and sunflower seeds.

The seeds are completely free for participants since the program is funded through a USDA Speciality Crop Block Grant. The Victory Gardens program will officially kick off the week of April 3, 2023. You don’t have to register to participate and seed pick-up will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

It may seem a little daunting to launch yourself straight into a vegetable garden, but don’t worry. They have so many resources available on the Victory Gardens website, including tips for planting, gardening tools, dealing with pests, donating the produce you grow, and more.

There’s even an FAQ section where you can find the answers to all of the questions that are inevitably swirling around in your head right now.

To learn more about the Victory Gardens, or to start planning your own garden, you can visit

Happy growing, Columbus! I can’t wait to see all of your Victory plants.