In 1941, Secretary of Agriculture Claude R. Wickard said that since U.S. farmers would be too busy producing for the Army, civilians should grow their own food wherever possible.
Resources of all kinds were diverted to support the vast international war effort.
Victory Gardening enabled Americans to ship more supplies to their troops and to people in war-torn countries around the world.
While soldiers ate barely tolerable rations, suffered in combat with many dying, people of the home-front dutifully conserved raw materials, recycled, helped their neighbors and planted Victory Gardens.
Victory Gardens came in every shape and size. People in all areas, rural and urban, raised food for their families, friends and neighbors. The gardens were planted in every available area, even on apartment rooftops and in parks. It is estimated that over twenty million Victory Gardens were planted during World War II, producing at least one third - and probably more - of all vegetables in the U.S.
Self-reliance is a strange concept to our present day global economy. For decades we have been possessed by consumerism. More than one generation understands their world no other way. Today's society has lost the experience, knowledge and self-reliance developed during the Great Depression and then into World War II.
If a national or global resource denial situation were to occur today it is safe to say most of society would be in extreme distress.