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A Bit of History on the Victory Garden Initiative

As World War I raged across Europe, a food crisis unfolded. Agricultural workers and their farmlands moved into military service and battlefields. This transformation decreased food supplies in the immediate region and increased the need for the United States to support its European allies. The National War Garden Commission was created in support of the food exportation overseas. The organization encouraged Americans to  plant, harvest, and store fruits and vegetables from their own personal “Victory Gardens.”

Through successful propaganda efforts including posters, word of mouth, and the distribution of canning and drying manuals,

3 million new garden plots were planted in 1917 and more than 5.2 million were cultivated in 1918, which generated an estimated 1.45 million quarts of canned fruits and vegetables.

The successful Victory Gardens initiative emerged again in the Second World War as commercial crops were sent overseas and food rationing was introduced in 1942. This time around, Americans utilized anything and everything they could find – flower pots, apartment rooftops, abandoned lots, and the front lawn of the White House. (Yup, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt ignored the Department of Agriculture’s protest and pulled out her gardening shovel instead.)

Coupled with the 100th anniversary of the National Garden Bureau, and this year’s continual turning of events, the buzz of a Victory Gardens revival should come as no surprise.  

In the spirit of sharing the goodness of gardening and in honor of Victory Gardens, perhaps this is the year to expand your garden so that you can give from the abundance. If several seasons have passed since you last planted a garden, this is the perfect time to bring it back. Or if you’ve never planted a garden before, this is your year.

Whatever the reason for growing your own Victory Garden, just know that we are all for it and excited to help! Nostalgia has kind of been our thing this year.

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