Monday, May 31, 2010

"Every garden a munition plant"

"Every garden a munition plant"

For that inspiring gem we can thank Charles Lathrop Pack, whose book, The War Garden Victorious was published in 1919 for the National War Garden Commission.

The whole book is online -


What the "three R's" mean to preparation for a life of peace, the three M's become in the conduct of war. These three M's stand for men, money and munitions. In its broadest sense, the term munitions includes everything needed by an army, and of all an army's needs the basic and most important is food....

Of course, garden food does not possess, pound for pound, anything like the food value of the concentrated foods sent to our allies and to our armies, but garden food is provender, and it is wholesome food....

Like that young man of great possessions who came to Christ, inquiring, "What shall I do to be saved?" hundreds of men who possessed or represented immense wealth, captains of industry and leaders of big business, came forward in this present-day struggle against pharisaism and demanded: "What can we do to help?" In their desire to back up the government, they were ready to do anything possible to increase the efficiency of either their works or their workers.

Even before the war began, a few manufacturing concerns had started community gardening among their employés, though the number of such enterprises was small. Once the war-time need of food was pointed out, however, business and industrial plants in every part of the country organized their men for garden production....

Among the large companies which helped their men in this way was the Carnegie Steel Company. Here is what the superintendent of one of the Carnegie plants wrote the National War Garden Commission:

The plots were taken by men in all classes of employment. Laborers, skilled operators, clerks, and executives–a large number of them without previous experience–went into the work. A great variety of produce was raised. Much spirit and rivalry developed among the gardeners, this being increased by the offer of prizes for the best gardens. In spite of the fact that the river twice flooded part of the gardens during the growing season, two of the prizes were taken by workers in the flooded areas. The general average of the gardens was above eighty per cent., and thirteen of them above eighty-four percent. Only one was adjudged a failure. The committee of judges was compelled to revisit the gardens twice after the first marking in order to decide on the winners, and even then had to place several of them on a par.

The gardens were not only an assistance to livelihood and a decided profit to the average worker, but were also an inspiration and fascination, as well as a means of pleasure and healthful education and exercise....

Service Flag of the Home Canner - "Can the Kaiser"

In thousands of cases his war garden meant to its owner the difference between ability and inability to subscribe to a war loan. There were more than 21,000,000 subscribers to the fourth Liberty Loan. The estimate of war-garden production means that the money saved through war gardening enabled at least one-fourth of these subscribers to become holders of their country's war-purpose bonds....

More War Garden posters at -

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