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New program to highlight Oak Ridge victory gardens and teach gardening basics

All produce from the victory garden in Oak Ridge is donated to local food banks.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — A new program from the Manhattan Project National Historical Park (NHP) gives people an opportunity to join a park ranger and learn about the history of victory gardens in Oak Ridge.

The park's first-ever victory garden public event will take place at the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge on Wednesday, May 4 at 2 p.m.

The free one-hour program will include information about the history of victory gardens in Oak Ridge, gardening demonstrations by park rangers and tips and tricks for people to start their own victory gardens at home.

Victory gardens were "a crucial aspect of the Homefront during World War II, with over 20 million gardens helping with rationing and food shortages," according to the Manhattan Project NHP. 

Oak Ridge's modern-day victory garden is tucked behind the Children's Museum and has been serviced by volunteers and park rangers since 2018.

All produce from the garden is donated to Oak Ridge food banks.

National Park Service Ranger Christie Rechin said those who cannot make Wednesday's event are encouraged to create their own victory gardens at home using biodegradable items.

"Toilet paper rolls, eggshells," Rechin explained, as she placed various seeds and soil in those items. "Once your seedlings start growing, you can pop those right in your victory garden and start planting."