Well Fed Neighbor

Local Food. Local Jobs.

It has come to my attention that the generation of 30 and under do not know or have a concept of what a victory garden is or was. The victory garden is a part of our history and I am going to attempt to explain why. As Sophia (Golden Girls) use to say picture this. America was at war and every effort was being made to supply everything from fighter planes, clothing, and food. A lot of what we use today was rationed in the war effort, sugar, coffee, meat, and gas. Everyone was asked to get by with less and produce more on the home front. My parents still talk about if someone was sick and needed to see a doctor it often meant traveling to the next town. the community would pitched in their gas rations to make sure that person got to the doctor. In other words it took a community. This is where victory gardens come into our lexicon and our collective memory. During the war food shipped to feed the large army came from the farms that at that time existed all over the country. Its produce went overseas to those serving. At home people were asked to grow a small garden to help supplement what was sent out and to feed the people in their communities. In the years between 1941 and 1945 42% (I believe this number is correct) of the produce used at home came from victory gardens. It was a time where neighbors would talk over the fence sharing seeds and garden tips. Neighbors helped neighbors in their gardens and traded food for eggs and milk which both items were heavily rationed. For those of us born in the 1940's and 50's victory gardens were still been grown even though the war was over. I grew up with parents, grand parents, and neighbors with a small garden in the yard and neighbors still talking over the fence and sharing seeds and gardening tips. So the question is do victory gardens have a place in our time? My answer is yes its time to build communities and supplement our tables with fresh healthy food. To share what we have grown and meet that neighbor down the street who may be older and can not garden, some one out of work, or the neighbor you share your garden secrets with. Yes it is time for us to take up our hoes and shovels and turn the earth to produce healthy food for our tables.

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Comment by Jay C. Anger on June 6, 2011 at 9:22am

Check out the upcoming National Archives display, "What's Cooking Uncle Sam?":





Looks like a neat exhibit!

Comment by Galen Chadwick on February 18, 2010 at 9:14am
Great letter, Shelley! Your writing helps reconnect younger readers to our historical memory.
Grant Beach Neighborhood Association is leading the way in bringing back an edible urban landscape.
In partnership with the WFNA, some 2,100 Grant Beach addresses were sent a free spring seed mix, with the promised of a free garden seeds for a family of four when they join. This program can be done other Neighborhood Associations. Those interested in learning more, are urged to contact Janice and Fred Ellison for details.

Jay's victory garden photos are a real treat!
Comment by MARK HAY on February 16, 2010 at 3:51pm
Great article Shelley, Makes you want to stand up and salute, then go plant. The posters that Jay added were fun to look at. It's time we do it all again!
Comment by shelley vaugine on February 16, 2010 at 1:45pm
Hey I really love those posters thanks for sharing
Comment by Jay C. Anger on February 16, 2010 at 11:54am
I have several scans of "Victory Garden" posters. Here are a few I have on this computer:

Comment by Aubree Taylor on February 16, 2010 at 9:57am
I'm with you Shelley! Let's make our communities healthy, happy and strong!

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