J500 Media and the Environment

V is for Victory and Veggies by meganr21

What is a Victory Garden?  A Victory Garden is a kitchen garden planted to relieve food shortages. Victory gardens were very commonplace during World War II.  World War II began in September 1939 and by January 1940 the United States began rationing food.  The government asked people to plant gardens to support the troops.  By growing their own food, it freed up commercially farmed fruits and vegetables for troops overseas.

By 1943 over 20 million Victory Gardens had sprung up throughout the United States in backyards, empty lots, even on rooftops in the city. As people began growing their own food canning became very popular so produce could be used outside of the growing season. The result? The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that during the war almost 10 million tons of fruits and vegetables were harvested at home and in the community.

My great grandmother had a victory garden and grew enough vegetables to supply fresh produce to some of her neighbors that were working in a defense plant.  She even built a root cellar where she kept potatoes, onions and canned vegetables and fruits to use during the winter months. She continued planting gardens and harvesting the bounty until her death at the age of 80.

When WWII ended the government stopped promoting Victory Gardens.  For many decades urban agriculture and home gardens fell by the wayside.  Driven by the economy many people are turning to home gardening this summer to supplement their diets. The recent revival of Victory Gardens leaves one question – have you decided what you’re planting this summer?

-Megan Richards, Group 1 – blog post

Photo credits: Fridge and Tunnel, Farms and Fields Project, Clemson

3 Comments so far
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I was talking to a friend today that said he was going to help his mom plant a Victory Garden today. Why do people use that terminology when describing farms that are planted these days? Do you think it is a good idea?

Comment by brennad87

I think it is perfectly acceptable. Some people might be confused since the term is popular for WW2 gardens but it does not necessarily refer to supporting the government or a war. Victory gardens are also cultivated historically to increase food production during shortages or periods of economic downturn. I think the term victory garden has become popular recently because of the economy – people are associating it with other economic downturns in the past.

Comment by meganr21

[…] pt. 1 – building and planting) Posted on May 6, 2011 by meganmakes My very own ‘Victory Garden’. While WWII is over and victory gardens seem a thing of the past, home gardening continues to […]

Pingback by megan makes (a square foot garden – pt. 1 – building and planting) | meganmakes

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