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Guest Blog: Reflections on Earth Day from The Dinner Garden

April 19th, 2011


Our great grandparents knew of the importance of a home garden.  It once took only a trip out the backdoor to harvest a carrot or two for the evening stew or a quick snack for the kids. They took what they needed and canned for the future.  Thankfully, gardening is no longer our great grandparent’s chore.  Wisdom that once seemed lost or never taught have become accessible once more…gifts of container gardening, weed barriers, and internet sites come to mind. We’ve forgotten the simple promise of the seed and the strength we hold in our own hands to feed our families, until now.

The Hirshberg household, of San Antonio, planted a garden to deal with the spiraling effects of the recession, and soon after established a federally recognized nonprofit organization in an effort to heal and help a nation. Over 60,000 families have received FREE packets of vegetable garden seeds from The Dinner Garden! 136 community gardens were also granted the gift of seed!

My name is Julie McClaren Autaubo.  I am one of three full-time volunteers for The Dinner Garden. One would think that a  gardening nonprofit is only seasonal. We are not. Planting times vary with several states enjoying year-round gardening. The Dinner Garden is reminded daily that the family budget rarely includes good nutrition. This keeps me volunteering on a daily basis.  Every hand packed envelope includes 10 different vegetable seed with The Dinner Garden covering the postage.  The D.G. currently operates without major corporate sponsorship. Not only do we need donations of seed [cucumber, green beans, winter squash, chard & okra] but also donations for postage.  A generous donation of $50,000 for postage & handling would greatly assist in tackling our waiting list of 45,000 seed recipients along with meeting additional needs.  I’d would also like to tackle this volunteer’s personal dream for The Dinner Garden… seed for a vegetable or container garden sent to every mailbox across the U.S.A!

Anyone game?

Deepest Gratitude!

Julie McClaren Autaubo

Full-Time volunteer


Please consider buying a DG tee or donating the price of your favorite latte to The Dinner Garden this Earth Day! You can find us at or  Facebook us!

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Growing Debt and Growing a Victory Garden

September 20th, 2010


Humble Seed will often point out reasons why growing your own food is important, from the freshest foods possible to a sense of personal accomplishment, but there’s another necessary reason why so many families today are turning to gardening: debt.

Today’s economy has forced many families into picking and choosing where they will spend their hard earned money, and sometimes, it can come down to what bills will be paid versus what types of meals will be put on the table. There are families feeling the pressure to buy more processed foods, because they are less expensive. Sadly, processed foods can be very unhealthy. There are also families choosing to grow their own foods, because starting from seed is inexpensive, and the yields can be high—with enough vegetables to feed your family and more for an entire growing season. Aside from the expenses of getting your garden ready and maintaining it, growing your own foods can be very economical.

If you do not have the space or yard for your own garden why not partner with a family member, friend or neighbor and create a joint victory garden? Victory gardens were first created during World War I and World War II in order to minimize the pressure on the public food supply that was caused by the wars. They were herb, fruit and vegetable gardens that were planted at families’ residences and public parks. Today, with the slowly recovering economy and continuing frustrations with the way our foods are being produced and processed, the word ‘victory’ can be an inspiration for a better and more sustainable world. With the popularity of victory gardens growing, it’s clear that people are making informed choices about where they will spend their money, how they will manage to stay afloat during the bad economy, and what foods they will feed their families.

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