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Victory Gardens, 1942-1945

By the 1940s vegetable gardens are out of fashion. Central farmers markets in town and truck farms in the suburbs provide plenty of locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables. However, as the United States enters World War II, canned food, sugar, gas and other commodities are rationed. To support the war effort people are encouraged to plant vegetable gardens. This is emphasized as a family pastime, a community effort, and a national duty. To set an example even some areas in public parks, such as Riverside in New York and the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco are tilled and planted with potatoes and corn. Empty lots and rooftops of apartment buildings are also utilized. (One such garden in south Minneapolis, near 46th and Dowling still exists). Suggested vegetables are: Beans, beets, carrots, peas, radishes, lettuce, spinach, chard, onions, cucumbers, parsley, kohlrabi, and summer squash. Also grown are corn, parsnips, leeks, turnips, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, eggplant, endive, and rutabagas. By 1945 there are 130,000 gardeners in the Twin Cities (20 million nation-wide) producing 40% of all vegetables consumed. In the spring of 1946, relief at the end of war prompts many to give up their victory gardens producing food shortages that year.