"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
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Victory Gardens

War Gardening and Home Storage of Vegetables

First promoted during World War I, war gardening, or victory gardens, provided American citizens an opportunity to assist with the war effort. Americans were encouraged to produce their own food, planting vegetable gardens in their backyards, churchyards, city parks, and playgrounds.

Food will win the war
Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover, appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to head the U.S. Food Administration, was given the power to distribute, export, import, purchase, and store food. Hoover's program, designed to encourage Americans to produce more and consume less, urged people to live simply and placed an emphasis of volunteerism. Due in large part to his efforts, Hoover successfully avoided wartime rationing. The act of decreasing consumption, both of food and of goods, during this time was dubbed Hooverizing.

America entered the second World War, reeling on the heels of the economic hardships of the Great Depression. By 1942 the country instituted the Food Rationing Program. Simultaneously, the government reestablished programs to encourage citizens to plant victory gardens. Americans supplemented their rations with produce from their own gardens, while farmers grew the essentials.

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Victory gardens were widely promoted during 1943 through 1945. However, once the war ended, so did government promotions and America's reliance on victory gardens.

War Gardening and Home Storage of Vegetables Enter Fullscreen More information
Victory Edition 1919 War Gardening and Home Storage of Vegetables
To appeal to American's sense of duty, the U.S. Food Administration adopted patriotic imagery to advertise the importance of war gardening. Shown above is Lady Liberty sowing the seeds of victory gardens. (VHS call number: SB321 N 3 1919)
Victory Edition 1919 War Gardening and Home Storage of Vegetables Enter Fullscreen More information
Victory Edition 1919 War Gardening and Home Storage of Vegetables
Images such as this, touched on American's sense of duty. Cabbage worms, black rust, and potato bugs are depicted as enemy plotters, while a number of vegetables stand to attention for what appears to be roll call. This cartoon, drawn by J. N. Darling, appeared in the New York Tribune and later in the Victory Edition 1919 War Gardening and Home Storage of Vegetables. (VHS call number: SB321 N 3 1919)
Walking Harvest Show, Richmond, 1943 Enter Fullscreen More information
Walking Harvest Show, Richmond, 1943
In 1943 Richmond's Office of Civilian Defense offered many programs to encourage gardening, including walking harvest shows. According to the 1943 Annual Report of the Richmond Office of Civilian Defense, 12,000 Victory Gardens were promoted and 10,000 pieces of literature on gardening were distributed. (VHS accession number: 1992.151.6)
House and Garden's Wartime Manual for the Home, 1943 Enter Fullscreen More information
House and Garden's Wartime Manual for the Home, 1943
The knowledge for preserving and storing food became vital for victory gardeners. In 1943 canning classes were offered in all sections of Richmond. Publications such as House and Garden's Wartime Manual for the Home included gardening tips and storage suggestions. (VHS call number: TX147 H84)
War Gardening and Home Storage of Vegetables
Victory Edition 1919 War Gardening and Hom
Victory Edition 1919 War Gardening and Home Storage of Vegetables
Victory Edition 1919 War Gardening and Hom
Walking Harvest Show, Richmond, 1943
Walking Harvest Show, Richmond, 1943
House and Garden's Wartime Manual for the Home, 1943
House and Garden's Wartime Manual for

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