Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany[1] during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil “morale 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. By the end of the war over 40% of the fruits and vegetables eaten in America were grown in residential back yard tended by women serving their country as victory gardeners!  After the war was over, studies showed that Americans and British citizens were actually healthier with less high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity due to the focus of a plant centered diet.

Since the turn of the 20th to 21st 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 Michelle Obama, planted an 1,100-square-foot (100 m2) “Kitchen Garden” on the White House lawn, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s, to raise awareness about healthy food.

Pandemics, Lockdowns and Hunger Oh My!

2021 has been a history breaking year. The U.S. has faced it first world wide pandemic (Covid-19) in over 100 years. Early on there was concern that the food supply lines from other countries would be interrupted. When the 30 day lockdown was put in force to try and stop the spread of the virus many Americans panicked, stormed their local grocery stores and began hoarding food and shelves were soon empty. With a double blow of the virus and an economic recession there has been a huge increase in demand at community food banks. 

America is ready for a “New Victory Garden” campaign.  If every American could dedicate a portion of their homes yard to planting and raising fruits and vegetables for their family, they could:

  • Save on the cost of feeding their family.
  • Feed their family wholesome and nutritious meals with fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce our dependence upon foreign oil (it takes a great deal of fuel to ship in produce across great distances)
  • Prepare for national disasters that could interrupt America’s food supply by raising your own food and learning methods for preserving harvests. America should be ready to supplement their need for food by raising their own fruits and vegetables. 
  • Give their families a bonding opportunity by raising their own food together.
  • Teach their children about nutrition and where their food comes from.
  • If gardeners could donate a small part of their crops to the local food banks, we can achieve a victory over hunger in America!
  • Leaning small batch canning to save home garden surplus to feed their family during trying times like natural disasters, pandemic lockdowns or if income is inturrupted.

The New Victory Garden’s War on Hunger Campaign

The crux of the New Victory Garden Campaign is to fight a war on hunger. The focus of the campaign’s outreach will be to educate and encourage citizens to consistently buy local food and produce as well as when possible supplement what they use by growing a victory garden in their own back yard.  Gardeners will also be encouraged to donate a small part of their crops they can’t eat or preserve to their local Food Bank.

Examples of War Time Victory Garden Posters

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