Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Evolution of The Victory Garden Part 4
Victory Gardens of World War II - These are the gardens my parents talked about and helped to grow with their families.
Many of the Victory Gardens of WWII sprouted from the the Relief Gardens of the Great Depression, and many had their start as WWI Victory Gardens.
During World War II the War Food Administration created the National Victory Garden program and it had five goals.
1. To lessen the demand on commercial vegetable suppliers and therefore make more food available for the Armed Forces.
2. To reduce demand on strategic materials used in food processing and canning.
3. To ease the burden on the railroads transporting war munitions by releasing the produce carriers.
4. To maintain the vitality and morale of Americans on the home front through production of nutritious vegetables and being outdoors to cultivate them
5. To preserve fruit and vegetables for future use when shortages might become worse.
Shortages were very real during WWII and rationing of food and resources were a reality for Americans at the time.
In 1942 5.5 milion gardeners participated in the War Garden Effort. Seed package sales rose 300%. The USDA estimated that 20 milion gardens were planted with and estimated 9 to 10 million pounds of fruit and vegetables grown per year. That was fourty-four percent of the fresh produce grown in the U.S. In 1943 315,000 pressure cookers sold for canning. Only 66,000 sold the year before.
The Victory Gardens of World War II helped to improve the morale of Americans and provided and outlet for patriotism, fear and anxiety, with loved ones off to war.
Today, we're seeing a resurgence in Victory Gardens and there are many similarities to the Victory Gardens of World War II, but there are some stark differences as well. Stay tuned for Part 5 of the Evolution of Victory Gardens, when we explore the modern Victory Garden.