Watch our Garden Grow: History of Victory Gardens

Watch Our Garden Grow

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – For the millions of Americans grappling with the worst unemployment crisis in US History, the pain keeps piling on. Some now asking the question, can I afford to put food on the table? They’re adapting and bringing back the ‘Victory Garden’. Our Matt Paddock is digging deeper with our new segment , ‘Watch our Garden Grow’.

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to alter the way of life. Many of us now facing job and food insecurity. That has us looking to the past for answers.

Rachel Dworkin, Archivist at Chemung Valley Museum says, ““During World War 1 there were food shortages in Europe once the US entered the war, we started supplying food to not only our military but their military and civilian population”.

So how did they do it? War Gardens!

Dworkin says, “In March of 1917, Charles Lathrop Pack put together the US war commission garden to encourage people to grow their own produce so that the commercially grown produce could be sent for war efforts” “By the end of the war there were 1.2 billion dollars worth of foodstuff being produced in war gardens”.

As the United states geared up for World War 2, rationing was instituted across the country, which meant growing your own produce put more food on your table. A trend that even made its way to the White house.

“There were about 18 million victory gardens around the United States and Eleanor Roosevelt planted one on the White House Lawn in 1943” “They produced an equal amount of fresh veggies as produced by commercial farms by the end of the war” says, Dworkin.

Growing your food is nothing new to the Elmira area.

Dworkin says, ““During World War 1, Elmira college had their own garden to grow the produce used at the college part of Farmerettes program, which was where college girls would go and help bring in the harvest at area farms”.

So as victory gardens are beginning to re-appear across the United States, you the viewers can watch as I try to grow a victory garden of my own, bringing you tips and tricks along the way to build you own.

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