American Gardener: Victory Gardens

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Between 1941 and 1945, posters like the ones above dotted the American landscape, encouraging citizens to support the war by planting a vegetable garden at home. First planted in 1917 during WWI, "victory gardens" became especially important during WWII, when a combination of rationing, transportation shortages, and the need for canned goods to feed overseas troops meant that Americans had to find new ways to put food on the table. While alleviating the pressure on the nation's food supply, the gardens also provided a morale boost to citizens by letting them contribute to the war effort. At the height of the movement, more than 20 million gardens were planted in backyards, at schools, and even on city rooftops. The campaign was a stunning success-- in 1944, an estimated 40% of all vegetables grown in the US came from victory gardens. Similar efforts took root in the UK and Canada, with related initiatives that encouraged canning homegrown vegetables. America's most famous victory gardener was First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who planted her own plot at the White House.

Want to learn more? Two original victory gardens are still growing-- the Fenway Victory Gardens in Boston, and the Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis. You can also visit a modern garden based on a 1943 pamphlet design at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

Throughout the month of July, we’re exploring the history of our nation’s gardens with the American Gardener series. 

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1 Comment

  • Denise said...

    Is there any way to get a printable file of this?

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