On Victory Gardens and More

Darleen Jarocki

On Victory Gardens and More

2 mins
July 6, 2021

I am going to go ‘way back to the memories of Victory Gardens, Dig Gardens, and I want to touch on some memories that may awaken your life, your family, and your relatives. On the Home Front, rationing went into effect to conserve badly needed essentials. Posters were seen throughout our post offices, grocery stores, and movie theaters depicting buying the Defense War Bonds. These war bonds helped to finance the high cost of making war. 

I still remember the one poster that featured a handsome pilot and his saying went like this: "You buy ‘em, we'll fly 'em!"  By the end of the war, Wisconsin had topped 150 percent of its bonds quota. Milwaukee held the honor of being the top bond-buying city in the nation. Bond rallies replaced dances as the "new" social event. If you just

happened to be a volunteer, you nearly made a career of learning the latest dance moves so you could entertain the servicemen and women. 

Manufacturing switched from consumer goods to producing wartime supplies, The industrial port cities, such as Milwaukee, Manitowoc, and Kenosha, kicked into high gear mobilizing their work efforts into ‘round-the-clock shifts to achieve maximum production. Fort McCoy, and many other training forts (that had lain dormant for many years), sprang to life with new recruits and volunteers. Country life changed as the boys left the farms for duty overseas and the women were left to take over the farms and the factory work forces. 

The Ration A Stamp that came into existence at this time was used for three gallons of gas per month per vehicle owner. Most of these folks put their vehicles up on blocks to keep supplying the military for their needs. Much of the population received food Ration Stamps. These stamps covered the basic needs of all families. The chief cook and bottle washer had to dole out the rations, as needed for each month's supply. If you ran out before that, you were out of luck. The applications had to be submitted the first week of June and ended two weeks thereafter. Each month, each individual was given a timeframe to sign up for the stamps on a monthly basis. The basic foods covered were flour, sugar, pastas, milk, and eggs. 

At this time, the Victory Gardens were introduced to the public. Of all the programs, that program was the most popular. The gardens were in parks, roof tops, and private residences. If you had a lawn, it was a garden thereafter. Over 200.000,000 gardens were developed during this era. The gardens came to be known as War Gardens. These gardens provided the soldiers with good healthy diets and it cut down on the shortage of food in the world. That meant that EVERYONE had food on their tables. 

While I was too young to understand the significance of the Victory Gardens, I  became very aware of eating the fresh vegetables from what had become a garden instead of a lawn. Our sidewalk was our playground. We lived in the city until I was in the fourth grade and the land that my folks moved to had a garden that seemed to stretch for a mile. May each of you, who toil in the soil, not forget what our forefathers brought to us.

God Bless America, the LAND that we love.

This article was orginally reported by
Darleen Jarocki

Darleen Jarocki is an expert gardener and cook. She is an excellent folklorist and local historian.