Growing Vegetables for Victory

A memorable part of Molly’s stories is Mrs. Gilford’s Victory Garden. In my part of the country, it is planting season, so here is Molly helping to plant the Victory Garden!

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Incidentally, this month in 1942 was when food rationing began in the United States (sugar was the first food item to be rationed). Obviously the growing of your own garden and the rationing of food items are closely related topics, illustrated by a conversation I had recently with my grandparents who were both children/teenagers during World War II.

Question: How did rationing affect the lives of you and your family?

Answer from Grandma (who lived in town): “We couldn’t get tires or go very far in the car, I remember that. My mother had to use different recipes without butter or sugar. We couldn’t buy vegetables or fruit in a can. My mother had to be very creative with our meals.”

Answer from Grandpa (who lived on a farm): “Rationing? Nah, that didn’t bother us much. If we wanted vegetables, we went down to the cellar and got a jar of vegetables that we grew and canned ourselves. If we wanted meat, we went to the meat locker where we kept the cow or hog we had butchered.”

As you can see, those who were able to self-sustain by growing their own food had vastly different home front experiences than those who did not. The government promoted “Victory Gardens” to the public as they had during World War I to help reduce the pressure on the food supply. Molly might have seen posters like this in her community:

Victory-garden

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Americans were not the only ones patriotically growing vegetables and making due without chocolate birthday cakes. Great Britain had been rationing since 1940. The United States had not yet started fighting in WWII at that time, but were feeling food production pressures on the home front as farmers were urged to amp up their production of milk and eggs so that they could be powdered and sent to British soldiers. (Cook, Alistair. The American Home Front 1941-1942. New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006.)

Great Britain also encouraged its citizens to grow their own food. Emily might have seen posters like this:

220px-INF3-96_Food_Production_Dig_for_Victory_Artist_Peter_Fraser

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Amelia says:

    I know this hasn’t been up very long, but I love AG dolls and history, so the history aspect behind this is great! I love it! 🙂

    Like

  2. Emily says:

    Hey, thanks! I am just getting started in my blogging adventure, but I am definitely excited focus on history through my dolls!

    Like

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