From the collections of the Imperial War Museum. Produced by the Ministry of Information and then Ministry of Agriculture – an appeal to the public to grow vegetables.
12 monthly Guides published in 1945 by the Ministry of Agriculture at their wartime base at the Berri Court Hotel, in Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire. I have finally found and published the August Guide to complete the series. As far as I can tell, this is the only complete series available. It surprises me that these leaflets are so scarce.
The Victory Garden movement and its significance in our wartime economy, both as a means of releasing food to our armed forces and of improving the nutritional status of civilians can be appreciated only by those who study the statistics and translate them into homely, every-day meaning. When we hear that Americans produced eight million tons of vegetables last year in home gardens, a quantity which was one-fourth of the entire vegetable production of the nation, it can be seen readily what would have been the state of civilian nutrition if the Victory Garden had not functioned.
It's no longer news that an ebbing economic tide could beach most boats. What is news is that traditional economic woes such as runaway inflation and bank failures could be compounded and amplified by severe resource shortages.
In the spring of 1943, the Health League of Canada started to promote “Victory Gardens.” It linked the growing of vegetables to good nutrition, which could provide “the maximum amount of pep and energy to do our wartime jobs.” The other benefit to growing produce in home gardens was the country’s increased ability to ship important farm crops to Great Britain.
I’ve been doing some research, and have discovered that during both world wars, victory gardens were planted in private homes and public spaces across North America, the UK and Australia to reduce the pressure that war placed on the public food supply. Gardeners were empowered by their labour contribution, and communities were rewarded with beautiful, local produce. In fact, these victory gardens produced almost half of all the produce that was consumed during the war years. While indirectly supporting the war effort, these gardens also provided a morale boost for the communities who nurtured them.