Victory Gardens... and Chickens

Time to plant a Victory Garden

Australians, now is the time to plant a Victory Garden and build a chicken coop! No, it's not World War Two, although with the news of the day you'd be forgiven for wondering. But similarities between war on the home front and the current climate make the Victory Garden campaign from the 1940s just as relevant today.

In the past, Victory Gardens helped the war effort. Today they can help reduce the cost of living and increase your household sustainability at the same time.

What are Victory Gardens?

During World War Two, drought and labour shortages had serious impacts on the food supply. The government responded by asking us to become more self-sufficient to help support the wartime economy. 

Hundreds of thousands of Australians, who were already doing it tough, mucked in. They started keeping chickens and growing vegetables in Victory Gardens. They even started veggie gardens on vacant blocks! 

Growing Victory Gardens was a key part of the war effort on the Australian home front.

Do you need a Victory Garden today?

The cost of living is rising noticeably and everything is getting more expensive. And that doesn't just include food and fuel.

If you've been to your local rural store lately, you would have noticed that the cost of everything from fencing supplies to fertiliser has gone up, sometimes by as much as 80 %! Farmers cannot absorb these costs forever and even though the average farmer only receives 16 % of the cost of your groceries, the increases will eventually be passed on to the consumer. Plus increases from transport companies, who are paying more for fuel, and even the supermarkets themselves, which are paying more for electricity.

Although there are still costs involved, producing your own food does help lower the cost of living. Especially if you use systems that aren't so reliant on fossil fuels, such as organic gardening and keeping free-range chickens.

Plus, there are other reasons why it might be good to produce some of your own food. Panic buying and economic shutdowns have left grocery stores bare more than once in the last 2 years. In areas affected by extreme weather, whether it be bushfires or floods, the same thing has occurred: empty shelves and a lack of fresh food and staples.

Watching the grocery bill climb each week or walking into a semi-empty store creates a very real anxiety. And one way to overcome this is by producing some of your own food.

You don't need a lot of space to begin growing simple things like salad and herbs, and if you have a small backyard and council regulations allow, we also recommend chickens. We might be a little biased there, though!

What are the benefits of growing your own?

Producing your own food isn't always easy but it can save you money. And there are other benefits too!

  • Reduce your grocery bill and save money
  • Become more resilient in case of a natural disaster or shutdown
  • Ease anxiety about the cost of living and food scarcity
  • Reduce pressure on supermarkets when supply chains are faltering
  • Be able to help others
  • Know exactly where your food came from and what went into it
  • Decrease food miles and the amount of fossil fuels used to provide your food
  • Become more self-sufficient
  • Experience the satisfaction of eating what you grew
  • Learn new things
  • Eat healthy, fresh food

Fresh eggs are the most complete food you can produce at home

Fresh eggs are one of the most complete foods that we can produce at home. With no more effort than keeping any other pet, a few backyard chickens can provide eggs enough for the whole family.

Backyard chickens are less work than many pets. All they need is a suitable enclosure and high-quality food. In return, they will provide you with a reliable supply of fresh eggs. If you are looking for a pet, chickens are friendly and can provide hours of entertainment. They are less work than common pets like dogs and guinea pigs. Chickens are also a great addition to the backyard if you are growing your own vegetables. Gardeners call their manure “black gold” for a reason, and with fertilisers also selling out it is ideal to have your own, chemical-free supply.

If you’re at home self-isolating, now is the perfect time to prepare for chickens. You’ve got the time to build a cage and run. Fixing up a corner of the yard is a great school holidays project. Once your chickens are installed, sit back and enjoy your funny, feathered friends and fresh food supply!

If you are thinking of getting chickens for the first time, we have plenty of experience and advice to share. You might like to know:

Happy chicken keeping!

Rachael - Dine a Chook Australia