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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Old Salem Museums & Gardens is transforming Old Salem’s garden plots into “victory gardens” to grow food for those in need, according to a OSMG news release.

This could include people who are food insecure, seniors, immunocompromised people and families in crisis.

Old Salem will partner with community groups and food banks who best serve this mission to ensure the food grown in Old Salem’s gardens is distributed to the people who need it.

The Miksch, Triebel and Single Brothers’ Gardens will all be used, and Old Salem’s greenhouse will be used for starting plants. The Salt Street Gardens may be brought into production if or when time and resources allow it.

The gardens will be planted with high productivity crops, nutrient dense crops and storage/shelf stable crops that do not require refrigeration. These crops include beets, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, southern peas, onions, collards and fast growing nutrient dense leafy greens like arugula.

Old Salem’s locally adapted heirloom seeds will be used. Existing leaf compost will be used and Old Salem residents will be encouraged to contribute their food scraps to a long-term compost pile.

“We quickly realized that Old Salem’s existing garden and plant propagation resources are already geared towards growing food plants,” said Frank Vagnone, Old Salem President and CEO. “It was a logical next step to use them to help those in need during this difficult time. Increasing production will involve selecting high productivity crops and growing larger amounts of them compared to our regular planting of a high diversity of crops for display and educational purposes.”

“Victory gardens” were gardens planted during World War I and World War II in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia at private residences and public parks to provide vegetables, fruit and herbs to reduce pressure on the public food supply and boost morale on the home front.