The Original Victory Garden

As host of the Victory Garden on PBS from 2002-2007, I started to collect WWII Victory Garden memorabilia — posters, brochures, signs, that sort of thing. Then, a few weeks ago I came across this 1942 film on the FDR Presidential Museum and Library site. It was in pretty bad shape; faded color, bad sound. There were a few other versions out there on Youtube as well, but each of worse quality than the next. So, I decided to restore this little gem, as well as to add a modern commentary, making it both a valuable historical record of past practice, and a useful guide for those interested in growing their own food at home today. It’s hard to believe now, but people like the Holders in this film grew almost half the country’s produce by the end of WII, right in their own backyards. These days, we don’t need to grow vegetables for the war effort, thank god, but you will reap ample rewards by growing at least a few fresh veggies for your own table. Nothing tastes better than produce from your own garden, and now’s the time to start planning.



The Original Victory Garden — 4 Comments

  1. You did an amazing restoration…Some of your captions…
    I do hope Dick didn’t poison himself too.

  2. Marvelous! Just began the Master Gardener program here in Colorado and this information is fascinating. Things have sure changed over the years.

  3. Thank you Michael, it is always such a pleasure to see your historical treasures! I just loved this! I am going to show my parents this evening. Although we no longer farm, I grew up eating from a garden this size as a child and took it for granted. Now, I am in my thirties and I am teaching my child to garden and grow food on our simple half acre urban lot in the area we call our “kitchen” garden. Like Becky, I began the master gardener program here in Georgia and will share this with my class. Love it, Love it!!

  4. Hello Michael,

    This really is a gem of a little film; it’s certainly an important part of American history on the home front during World War II. I like the Computer Age special effects of the rows of vegetables appearing and disappearing over time according to season. Who knew they could do that back then or are they really and truly 21st Century effects by a noted editor?! (Just jokin’ around.) Thank you for doing the film restoration, and putting it up for all of us to enjoy. Sustainability really never goes out of fashion, does it?

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