Posted May 3, 2020
Food for Fighting: Victory Gardens
Victory gardens started out during World War I as a way of providing sustainable food for people in the United States during wartime. Resources were being consumed at a quicker rate during the war, including rations and food for the soldiers. In order to ease the burden, people were encouraged to start rationing their food portions to show support and do their part in contributing to the war effort. The government started to create posters and agencies to promote the patriotic activity of planting your own victory garden. They often encouraged children to get involved with the activity. These efforts helped to start around 5 million gardens after WWI!
Once World War II started, the popularity of victory gardens immediately made a resurgence. This time, the government more strongly encouraged both adults and children to be involved in victory garden planting. Posters were still popular, but radio programs and newsreels also showed how people could build their own garden. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt even planted her own garden at the White House! They promoted smart gardening as well, like only planting what you could use, only using land that was fertile enough for gardening, and planting crops that would be appropriate for the area to grow. By the end of the war, over 20 million gardens had been planted!
With the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic victory gardens have had another surge in popularity. This time however, it is a movement started by the people rather than being backed by the government. People see this as an opportunity to grow and harvest food from their own sources in order to lessen the amount of strain on food production in the country. Today’s victory gardens look a little different now, too, as more people trade out their backyard garden plots for planters or techniques that allow them to grow food indoors.
Each activity of this four-part series is below.