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Garden for Victory! The American Victory Garden Campaign of World War II

  • Laura J. LawsonEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Remembered as a positive and widely popular effort, the American victory garden campaign of World War II illustrates a successful effort to encourage gardening as a response to the needs of a country in crisis. The popularity, effectiveness, and temporality of the victory garden campaign all reveal important aspects to ‘greening the red zone’. Although many people have simplified the intention to be primarily about increasing household food production, in truth it was a broad-based effort that envisioned gardening as an expression of patriotism and as a resource for recreation and restoration during a stressful time. The campaign also gives insight into what it takes to support a national, albeit a temporary, garden campaign and may shed light on what is necessary in addition if the goal is to sustain gardens permanently. The victory garden campaign is first contextualized in light of previous gardening campaigns that date back to the 1890s and typically arose in times of social or economic turmoil. In particular, comparison to the World War I war garden campaign reveals the acknowledgment of gardening as beneficial to broad social and emotional needs in time of war. The chapter then describes the campaign’s organizational structure, promotion, and participation. Description of the gardens reveals the complementary balance of social and personal benefits. The chapter concludes with a description of the end of the program and its legacy to community gardening efforts today.

Keywords

War garden Victory garden World War I World War II Vegetable gardening 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Landscape ArchitectureRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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