Friday, May 30, 2008

"Plant a Victory Garden"

Office of War Information poster, no. 34. 1943. 28 x 22.

This poster was part of the publicity for a brilliantly mounted campaign to encourage the use of homegrown foods. Because commercially canned goods were rationed, the Victory Garden became an indispensable source of food for the home front. The Victory Garden was a household activity during the war and one of the most well received of all home front chores. At its peak, it is estimated that nearly 20,000,000 gardens were grown and about 40 percent of all vegetables produced in the U.S. came from Victory Gardens. By the end of the war the Department of Agriculture estimated total home front production of over one million tons of vegetables valued at 85 million dollars.

The Victory Gardens of WWII remain a vivid memory for many Americans who experienced them. Across the nation, home canning and preserving of farm produce flourished so that more supplies would be made available for our troops. The idea was simple in conception and inexpensive for the individual American at home to carry out. Of all the advertising techniques used to make Americans feel a part of the war effort, this was perhaps the most successful. The Victory Garden fulfilled the requirements of a good advertising campaign: that it attracts a broad and sympathetic audience at a reasonable price.

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