Category: What To Do Now

SHOULD WE BRING BACK VICTORY GARDENS?

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By by Natalie LaVolpe – FeaturedHome and Garden
Forced to shelter in place, most of us are coming down with a bad case of cabin fever. Instead of just watching TV, or sitting on the couch… why not plant a Victory Garden.

 

During World War II the nation fell on hard times. With fresh fruits and vegetables in short supply, food needed to be rationed and the government ultimately turned to the citizens to do their part to keep the nation fed. Families on the home front were encouraged to “put their idle land to work” and to produce “victory” gardens to combat the food shortage.

 

Slogans such as “Dig for Victory,” “Every War Garden is a Peace Plant,” “Sow the Seeds of Victory,” and “Uncle Sam Says, ‘Garden to Cut Food Costs'” covered pamphlets. People quickly realized it was their national duty to participate.

 

In 1943, nearly forty percent of all fruits and vegetables grown in the US were grown in victory gardens. There were gardens planted in backyards, empty lots, and on the top of city rooftops. Neighbors and communities worked together and formed cooperations. Even schools got involved to provide supplemental food for lunches. An estimated 20 million victory gardens were planted, with about 9-10 million tons of fruits or vegetables harvested. Even Eleanor Roosevelt took part by planting her own victory garden at the White House in 1943.

 

What Were Victory Gardens?

Photo courtesy of nationalww2museum.org
Victory Gardens, also called “war gardens” or “food gardens for defense” were gardens planted by ordinary citizens during World War I and World War II to provide some relief in the public food demands. Victory gardens were soon “cropping up” across the United States and Canada. Victory gardens were considered a civil morale booster.

 

Ordinary citizens were growing tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, beets, and peas.  Victory gardens introduced us to Swiss chard and kohlrabi because they were easy to grow.

 

The United States government even provided growing plans and tips on how to grow a backyard garden, as well as a recipe book with home-grown vegetable recipes. Families were also encouraged to can their excess veggies to send overseas to troops. Victory gardens made sure that there was enough food for the fighting soldiers.