21st-century Victory Gardens might morph into Stimulus Gardens
Propaganda posters, as they were then called, helped sell patriotic ideas during World War II. This poster promotes Victory Gardens, but the posters ranged from loose lips sink ships to recycling themes. (See additional poster below.) Background posts: 20 questions and answers to prove your York County WWII smarts and Pennsylvania Dutch-speaking York County residents often conversed with German POWs and Jamaican fruit pickers worked York County orchards in World War II .
Victory Gardens, 21st-century style, may make a comeback as Americans cope with the recession this summer.
The gardens represented an important part of military strategy in World War II. The idea was that if homefront Americans could grow enough to feed themselves, the government could concentrate on feeding the troops.
This excerpt from my “In the Thick of the Fight” describes the World War II-era gardening boom:
“In 1943, one-third of all vegetables grown in America came from gardens. In addition, the government asked farmers to dedicate ‘an acre for a soldier’ and donate the profits from crop sales to canteens for servicemen.
“Civilian Defense officials pushed for additional Victory Gardens as the 1944 growing season approached, using the slogan ‘Grow More in ’44.’ Residents with green thumbs could secure land to cultivate Victory Gardens at no cost or low cost. They could sign up for plots at York’s old city hall on South Duke Street.
“Norma Bear Gates of Conewago Township later wrote that the gardens also provided an opportunity for unity. Folks worked side by side toward a common goal. ‘Neighbors shared gardening expertise as well as tools,’ she wrote.
“The unity was not complete. Late in the war, York Police Capt. Gorman J. Christine assigned plainclothes night patrolmen to curb looting and other malicious damage to backyard gardens.”
Perhaps their counterparts this century could become known as Stimulus Gardens.
Visit ‘Victory’ for food self-sufficiency at Paul Kuehnel’s Greenmesh blog.