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Victory garden

Victory garden

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Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

, fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 and herb
Herb
Except in botanical usage, an herb is "any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or "a part of such a plant as used in cooking"...

 garden
Garden
A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The garden can incorporate both natural and man-made materials. The most common form today is known as a residential garden, but the term garden has...

s planted at private residences and public parks in United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort
War effort
In politics and military planning, a war effort refers to a coordinated mobilization of society's resources—both industrial and human—towards the support of a military force...

 these gardens were also considered a civil "morale
Morale
Morale, also known as esprit de corps when discussing the morale of a group, is an intangible term used to describe the capacity of people to maintain belief in an institution or a goal, or even in oneself and others...

 booster" — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens become a part of daily life on the home front
Home front
Home front is the informal term commonly used to describe the civilian populace of the nation at war as an active support system of their military....

.

Background



In March 1917, Charles Lathrop Pack
Charles Lathrop Pack
Charles Lathrop Pack , a third-generation timberman, was "one of the five wealthiest men in America prior to World War I". He owed his good start in life to the success of his father, George Willis Pack, and grandfather, George Pack in the forestry sector. Growing up on Lake Huron in Michigan's...

 organized the National War Garden Commission and launched the war garden campaign. During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, food production had fallen dramatically, especially in Europe, where agricultural labor had been recruited into military service and remaining farms devastated by the conflict. Pack conceived the idea that the supply of food could be greatly increased without the use of land and manpower already engaged in agriculture, and without the significant use of transportation facilities needed for the war effort. The campaign promoted the cultivation of available private and public lands, resulting in over five million gardens and foodstuff production exceeding $1.2 billion by the end of the war.

Amid regular rationing of canned food in Britain, a poster campaign ("Plant more in '44!") encouraged the planting of victory gardens by nearly 20 million Americans. These gardens produced up to 40 percent of all the vegetable produce being consumed nationally.

It was emphasized to home front urbanites and suburbanites that the produce from their gardens would help to lower the price of vegetables needed by the US War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 to feed the troops, thus saving money that could be spent elsewhere on the military: "Our food is fighting," one US poster read.

Although at first the Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...

 objected to Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international...

's institution of a victory garden on the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 grounds, fearing that such a movement would hurt the food industry, basic information about gardening appeared in public services booklets distributed by the Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...

, as well as by agribusiness
Agribusiness
In agriculture, agribusiness is a generic term for the various businesses involved in food production, including farming and contract farming, seed supply, agrichemicals, farm machinery, wholesale and distribution, processing, marketing, and retail sales....

 corporations such as International Harvester
International Harvester
International Harvester Company was a United States agricultural machinery, construction equipment, vehicle, commercial truck, and household and commercial products manufacturer. In 1902, J.P...

 and Beech-Nut
Beech-Nut
Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation is a baby food company that is currently owned by the Swiss branded consumer-goods firm Hero Group.- History :...

. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 20 million victory gardens were planted. Fruit and vegetables harvested in these home and community plots was estimated to be 9-10 million tons, an amount equal to all commercial production of fresh vegetables.

Victory gardens were planted in backyards and on apartment-building rooftops, with the occasional vacant lot "commandeered for the war effort!" and put to use as a cornfield or a squash patch. During World War II, sections of lawn were publicly plowed for plots in Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London, United Kingdom, and one of the Royal Parks of London, famous for its Speakers' Corner.The park is divided in two by the Serpentine...

 to publicize the movement. In New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, the lawns around vacant "Riverside"
Riverside (house)
Riverside was an extravagant private residence on the Upper West Side of New York City that existed in the first half of the 20th century. It was built for steel magnate Charles M. Schwab, and was the grandest and most ambitious house ever built on the island of Manhattan...

 were devoted to victory gardens, as were portions of San Francisco's
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

 Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park, located in San Francisco, California, is a large urban park consisting of of public grounds. Configured as a rectangle, it is similar in shape but 20% larger than Central Park in New York, to which it is often compared. It is over three miles long east to west, and about half a...

.

In 1946, with the war over, many residents did not plant victory gardens in expectation of greater produce availability. However, shortages remained in the United Kingdom.

The Fenway Victory Gardens in the Back Bay Fens
Back Bay Fens
The Back Bay Fens, most commonly called simply The Fens, is a parkland and urban wild in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States.Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to serve as a link in the Emerald Necklace park system, the Fens gives its name to the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, and thereby to...

 of Boston, Massachusetts and the Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...

, remain active as the last surviving public examples from World War II. Most plots in the Fenway Victory Gardens now feature flowers instead of vegetables while the Dowling Community Garden retains its focus on vegetables.

Since the turn of the century there has existed a growing interest in victory gardens. A grassroots campaign promoting such gardens has recently sprung up in the form of new victory gardens in public spaces, victory garden websites and blogs, as well as petitions to both renew a national campaign for the victory garden and to encourage the re-establishment of a victory garden on the White House lawn. In March 2009, First Lady
First Lady
First Lady or First Gentlemanis the unofficial title used in some countries for the spouse of an elected head of state.It is not normally used to refer to the spouse or partner of a prime minister; the husband or wife of the British Prime Minister is usually informally referred to as prime...

 Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is the wife of the 44th and incumbent President of the United States, Barack Obama, and is the first African-American First Lady of the United States...

, planted an 1100 square feet (102.2 m²) "Kitchen Garden" on the White House lawn, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt's, to raise awareness about healthy food.

Films


The United States Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...

 issued a 20 minute film to promote and train people how to plant victory gardens titled Victory Garden.

TV show


The successful WGBH
WGBH-TV
WGBH-TV, channel 2, is a non-commercial educational public television station located in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. WGBH-TV is a member station of the Public Broadcasting Service , and produces more than two-thirds of PBS's national prime time television programming...

 public television series The Victory Garden
The Victory Garden (TV series)
The Victory Garden is an American public television program about gardening and other outdoor activities, produced by station WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts, and distributed by PBS...

, given wide distribution in the U.S. over the Public Broadcasting Service
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

, took the familiar expression to promote composting and intensive cropping for homeowners who wanted to raise some vegetables (and some flowers). It has continued for over three decades.

See also


  • Allotment (gardening)
    Allotment (gardening)
    An allotment garden, often called simply an allotment, is a plot of land made available for individual, non-professional gardening. Such plots are formed by subdividing a piece of land into a few or up to several hundreds of land parcels that are assigned to individuals or families...

  • Home front during World War II
    Home front during World War II
    The home front covers the activities of the civilians in a nation at war. World War II was a total war; homeland production became even more invaluable to both the Allied and Axis powers. Life on the home front during World War II was a significant part of the war effort for all participants and...

  • Women's Land Army
    Women's Land Army
    The Women's Land Army was a British civilian organisation created during the First and Second World Wars to work in agriculture replacing men called up to the military. Women who worked for the WLA were commonly known as Land Girls...

  • Australian Women's Land Army
    Australian Women's Land Army
    The Australian Women's Land Army was an organisation created in World War II in Australia to combat rising labour shortages in the farming sector. The AWLA was formed on 27 July 1942 and was modelled on Women's Land Army in Great Britain. When Japan joined the Axis in 1941 male agricultural labour...

  • Woman's Land Army of America
    Woman's Land Army of America
    The Woman's Land Army of America , later the Women's Land Army , was a civilian organization created during the First and Second World Wars to work in agriculture replacing men called up to the military. Women who worked for the WLAA were sometimes known as farmerettes...

  • Rationing in the United Kingdom
  • United States home front during World War II
    United States home front during World War II
    This page, United States home front during World War II, covers the developments within the United States, 1940–1945, to support its efforts during World War II.-Economics:...

  • Wickard v. Filburn
    Wickard v. Filburn
    Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 , was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that recognized the power of the federal government to regulate economic activity. A farmer, Roscoe Filburn, was growing wheat for on-farm consumption. The U.S...


External links