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Victory gardens began during World War I when a severe food crisis emerged in Europe as agricultural workers were recruited into military service and farms were transformed into battlefields. The burden of feeding millions of starving people fell to the United States. Americans were encouraged to contribute to the war effort by planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and storing their own fruits and vegetables so that more food could be exported to our allies.
When the United States was drawn into the Second World War, victory gardens began to reemerge as a way to boost morale and patriotism. With the introduction of food rationing in the United States in the spring of 1942, Americans had an even greater incentive to grow their own fruits and vegetables in whichever locations they could find: small flower boxes, apartment rooftops, backyards or deserted lots of any size. Amid protests from the Department of Agriculture, Eleanor Roosevelt even planted a victory garden on the White House lawn.