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World War I War Garden and Victory Garden title

Sow the Seed of Victory War Garden Commission poster
WWI National War Garden
Commission Poster
SHSND# 10935-P107
Catch phrases and posters also promoted the preserving of garden products. “Turn your Reserves into Preserves,” “Every Kitchen a Canning Factory,” and “Back up the Cannon with the Canner.” The National War Garden Commission gave first prize certificates to the “best display of canned vegetables from a war garden” at county and state fairs around the nation, but I could not find evidence of ND fairs taking advantage of the competition. (Pack, p. 121 – 124) Gardeners were also encouraged to dry food and offered plans for building a food dehydrator. (Pack, p. 138).

Following armistice, the War Garden became the Victory Garden. The wording on the literature and posters changed a bit, but people were encouraged to garden and conserve food in order to allow the US to ship food to the needy of Europe.

In North Dakota, historic records hold little information on WWI Victory Gardens. Extension agents were required to be employed by every agricultural county in the US during World War I. Extension agents published material in local newspapers to encourage extensive agriculture and home gardening and preserving of homegrown foods. Oscar Will’s seed catalog did not use any official Victory Garden literature or images, but in his 1918 catalog essay, Will did use the Victory Garden concepts: “We realize to the full our position in helping to feed the world.... [and] advocate careful garden planning and conservative seed buying.” Will’s 1919 catalog back cover continued to advocate the wartime recovery conservation message. The image was of raspberries, gooseberries, asparagus, celery, and currants. The caption read: “Help feed the world by growing these common small fruits and plants in your own garden. Plant once and enjoy them every year afterward.”