What is a victory garden

embargoed-0001-thursday-2-april-dig-for-victory-e28093-grow-you-own-vegetables-credit-imperial-war-museum       Dig For Victory, 1942, IWM PST 0059        pljr1

Victory Gardens are designed to specifically address the nutrient value of food for the growing season.

Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens which were grown at private homes and public parks.  Victory Gardens are sometimes referred to as Peace Gardens.

It was emphasized to home front urbanites and suburbanites that the produce from their gardens would help to lower the price of vegetables needed by the military to feed the troops, thus saving money that could be spent elsewhere on the military

They were popular during WW 1 and WW 2. 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.

Planting of victory gardens by nearly 20 million Americans. These gardens produced up to 40 percent of all the vegetable produce being consumed nationally.

Canada & US
By the end of 1943, there were more than 200 000 victory gardens in Canada, producing about 550lb of produce each! One gardener in seven was a city dweller. There were 15% more home gardeners than in 1942; 24% more than 1940. The number of gardens in Vancouver, including New Westminster, Burnaby, North and West Vancouver by the end of the year was 52,000; the value of the food they produced in the 1943 season was estimated (in the dollar value of the time) as $4 million.

The US Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 20 million victory gardens were planted. Fruit and vegetables harvested in these home and community plots was estimated to be 9-10 million tons, an amount equal to all commercial production of fresh vegetables

End of the War

In 1946, with the war over, many residents did not plant victory gardens in expectation of greater produce availability. The throwing down of the forks and spades resulted in food shortages


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

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