Victory Gardens’ Centennial Year, 2017

Victory Gardens’ Centennial Year, 2017

This photo documentary blog pulls from the internet to show Victory Gardens as they were 100 years ago.  Well, some are from 100 years ago and WWI and others are from WWII but all are fantastic and worth sharing.

Growing our own food was shown as the most patriotic thing we could do.  And for whatever reason you need to grow your own garden now, whichever side of the political spectrum you are on, it is still the most patriotic thing we can do!

A little of Victory Garden history

In March 1917, Charles Lathrop Pack organized the US National War Garden Commission and launched the war garden campaign. Food production had fallen dramatically during World War I where agricultural labor had been recruited into military service and remaining farms devastated by the conflict. Pack and others 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 in the USA[2] and foodstuff production exceeding $1.2 billion by the end of the war.[3]

Women farmers

As a large percentage of the male labor force went abroad and to war, a large effort was made to empower women to produce the much needed food for our country.  Women gardeners/farmers were shown to be happy, patriotic, and doing their best for the war efforts, their families and their country by growing food.  444_womens_land_army dig for victory organic_victory_gardens will-you-have-a-part-in-victory woman farming liberty

Urban Farms

Amid regular rationing of food in Britain, the United States Department of Agriculture encouraged the planting of victory gardens during the course of World War II. Around one third of the vegetables produced by the United States came from victory gardens.[6] It was emphasized to American 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 to feed the troops, thus saving money that could be spent elsewhere on the military: “Our food is fighting,” one US poster read.[7] By May 1943, there were 18 million victory gardens in the United States – 12 million in cities and 6 million on farms.[8]

In New York City, the lawns around vacant “Riverside” were devoted to victory gardens, as were portions of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The slogan “grow your own, can your own”, was a slogan that started at the time of the war and referred to families growing and canning their own food in victory gardens.[12]

new york garden

New York City Victory Garden


WWII, 1940’s: Boys working in Wartime Victory Garden, Ludlow St, New York City, Lower East Side, Manhattan.


San Francisco City Hall’s Victory Garden

Although at first the Department of Agriculture objected to Eleanor Roosevelt‘s institution of a victory garden on the White House 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, as well as by agribusiness corporations such as International Harvester and Beech-Nut. Fruit and vegetables harvested in these home and community plots was estimated to be 9,000,000–10,000,000 short tons (8,200,000–9,100,000 t) in 1944, an amount equal to all commercial production of fresh vegetables.[9] [10] [11]

Eleanor Roosevelt planted a garden, and had sheep!

Eleanor Roosevelt planted a garden, and had sheep!

President Woodrow Wilson said that “Food will win the war.” To support the home garden effort, a United States School Garden Army was launched through the Bureau of Education, and funded by the War Department at Wilson’s direction.

student farmers

School gardens were recognized as important and were prioritized 100 years ago.

school garden


super farmers

If you’re going to be reaching out to kids, you also need to show their heroes doing the same work!

disney victory


Save money! It’s patriotic.

save money

v for victory vitams veg

Eat your vitamins! It’s patriotic!

If you’re at all confused where to start or how to plan, here is a helpful guide  (brought to you by the Illinois Council of Defense)!


Almost all text, except the first two paragraphs, sourced from Wikipedia.  Photos from “Victory Garden” Google search.


A lady with a plan. To Bike Latin America. To Document Agriculture. Live with intention and hope. Make change for the better. In everything, every day.

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