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The War Garden Victorious




How Housewives Turned Their Reserves into Preserves

From the governments of the Entente Allies and the associated nations, whose territory girdled the earth, came the cry for conservation. There was need for this cry. Never in the world's history was material of all kinds used up in such quantities. More than once, in a three-hour preparation for a short advance, a greater number of shells had to be employed than were fired in the entire Franco-Prussian War. Shells are but a type. Everything was used in unheard-of quantities. This was particularly true of food, the basic material upon which the entire structure of victory rested. Speedily it became apparent that everything possible must be saved––old cartridge cases, old shoes, old shells, old clothes, old materials of every sort––and particularly food. This was especially true of food because material like old shoes or old shells could be used repeatedly; but food once eaten was gone forever. As the world's food supply became more inadequate the cry for conservation grew more and more insistent.

    "Turn your reserves into preserves!" became the order of the day among the women all over the country. With this as their slogan they made ready by the million to build up a second line of defense which would serve as an effective bulwark against the enemy. The call to make "Every Garden a Munition Plant" was supplemented by the women with the motto: "Every Kitchen a Canning Factory." Every facility that could be found was utilized to carry on this effort. Women's clubs everywhere urged upon their members and others the importance of this work. Community kitchens were opened for the convenience and assistance of those who did not have the means or the time, at home, to preserve all the vegetables grown in their gardens.
    It was necessary that a certain amount of information concerning new and scientific methods of canning be furnished with the appeals made to women to proceed with the work, so the National War Garden Commission furnished precise and practical instructions. This it did in a number of ways. A comprehensive but concise canning and drying book was prepared by scientific experts and printed by the Commission for free distribution. Several million copies of this manual were given out during the first season of the garden campaign; and an equal number of the improved and revised editions which were issued in 1918 and 1919. These went to hundreds of thousands of individuals who applied for them, to libraries, local canning clubs and committees, chambers of commerce, and other trade bodies, banks, and manufacturing concerns, schools, hundreds of emergency home demonstration agents of the United States Department of Agriculture, and to state, county, and city food administrators.

A Prize-winning ExhibitA PRIZE-WINNING EXHIBIT
At the big war-garden exposition held in Rochester, New York, the blue ribbon for best canned vegetables went to the display shown there by the Eastman Kodak Company whose employes had gone into the work of home food production and food conservation most enthusiastically. Mrs. Tillie Baldwin who carried off the company's first prize with her canned vegetables and fruits was also awarded a National Capital Prize Certificate by the National War Garden Commission.

    A series of canning lessons was prepared by the Commission's experts. These were supplied to the newspapers of the country, hundreds of which ran them as daily instructions. With many of them illustrations were used, showing the various steps in the cold-pack method of canning, and giving other educational hints in pictorial form so as to attract the eye of the home food conserver and make the work plainer. News stories telling what was being done along this line in various sections of the country were published in the daily press; and large numbers of feature articles were written and widely circulated.
    To arouse further interest in the work and to encourage the best possible efforts, recognition was accorded by the National War Garden Commission for excellence of product. This was in addition to local prizes and awards and was in the form of National Capitol Prize Certificates which were given to the blue-ribbon or first-prize winners at exhibits and fairs for the best displays of canned vegetables from war gardens. With these certificates the Commission gave money awards, the first year in cash, and the second year in thrift stamps.
    Many large manufacturing concerns which had extended aid to the employés in planting gardens held fairs at which the products raised were displayed and prizes awarded in the various classes. At a number of these the Commission's certificate constituted the grand prize which went to the sweepstakes-winner in the canned-vegetable class. Not only did hundreds of industrial plants, large and small, provide land for their men, prepare it for cultivation and divide it into small individual plots, but they also made arrangements for the wives of their workers to can their surplus products in kitchens set apart for the purpose and with capable instructors placed in charge to show the women how to obtain the best results.

    The appeal to the women of the United States to "Back Up the Cannon with the Canner" met with loyal response. Testimony has been given by prominent officials, governmental, military, and civil that the war could not have been won without the aid of the women. They took places left vacant by men in munition factories, on the farms, and in a hundred other activities. It will never be possible to estimate accurately the extent to which they made victory a certainty. But to no class of women is there due a greater need of praise than to the silent millions all over the country who helped save food. While their sisters were working in munition factories, these women in countless numbers were packing away "ammunition" in jars so that the boys in France might always have a supply. Soon after he landed in France, General Pershing sent a message to America. It said: "Keep the Food Coming." The women of the country obeyed the order. With ladles and spoons instead of bayonets, with wash-boilers in place of tanks, and with cans and jars as their weapons instead of hand-grenades and bombs, they performed valiant service.
    They made a fine start in 1917 when, from the surplus products of the millions of war gardens, they preserved something like 500,000,000 quart jars of vegetables and fruits. In the following season they far surpassed their previous record and, according to estimates, stowed away approximately 1,450,000,000 quart jars of garden produce.






How the National War Garden Commission Came into Being


The Story of the War Garden


How War Gardens Helped


Types of War Gardens


Uncle Sam's First War Garden


How Big Business Helped


How the Railroads Helped


The Army of School Gardeners


Community Gardening


Cooperation in Gardening


War Gardens as City Assets


The Part Played by Daylight Saving


The Future of War Gardening


Conserving the Garden Surplus


Community Conservation


Conservation by Drying


Why We Should Use Dried Foods


The Future of Dehydration


Cooperation of the Press
  Chapter 19 - Cartoon Illustrations


  "War Gardening,"
Victory Edition, 1919
Cover / Letters / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 / 29 / 30 / 31 / 32
More Letters / Back

  "Home Canning and Drying," Victory Edition, 1919
Cover / Letters / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 / 29 / 30 / 31 / 32
More Letters / Back

Color Plates

  Sow the Seeds of Victory - Every Garden a Munition PlantWILL YOU HAVE A PART IN VICTORY?

"Every Garden a Munition Plant"

James Montgomery Flagg

  War Garden Victorious Poster - War Gardens Over The TopA Poster Spreading the Idea of Militant War Gardens

Maginel Wright Enright

  War Garden Victorious Poster - Every Garden a Peace PlantA Poster for 1919, Symbolic of Victory

Maginel Wright Enright

  War Garden Victorious Poster - Can Vegetables, Fruits and the Kaiser tooCAN VEGETABLES, FRUIT AND THE KAISER TOO

J. Paul Verrees

A Poster Which Was Used in 1918, and Which, Amended–Following Germany's Defeat–Was Also Forceful in 1919



  We can can vegetables, fruti and the Kaiser too We can can Vegetables Fruit and the Kaiser too