Victory Gardens
A lesson about the history and revival of beneficial Victory Gardens in America.

Today’s Activities

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Engage

Watch this video: Victory Garden Radio Announcement. The video includes a public radio announcement and posters from 1943.

Consider and discuss:

  • What is the announcement advising Americans to do?
  • How do the posters portray Americans?
  • Why do you think the government would encourage Americans to garden during a war?

Watch this video about Victory Gardens during the COVID-19 crisis. Then write a list of 10 types of plants you would plant in your own victory garden. Why would you pick those items to grow? Do you think it would be difficult or easy to grow those crops? 

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Explore

Read 2 short articles about the history of wartime gardens:

Begin to write the benefits to grow food at home on this bubble map.

Watch the video The Gardens of Victory.

Consider and discuss:

  • Why were community gardens so crucial during times of war and economic strife in 20th century America?
  • Take a moment to brainstorm about some of the issues impacting your home or school community. Do you think a community garden could remedy or tackle these problems? How so? 

Read this article about the current revival of Victory Gardens during the COVID-19 pandemic. How are Victory Gardens beneficial to the environment? Continue to write these benefits on your bubble map.

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Explain

Examine these infographics about industrial food systems and local food systems. Compare them. How are they different?

Consider how a Victory Garden might simplify the local food system even further. Referring to the local food system infographic, draw a similar diagram for a Victory Garden food system.

Read this article about the health benefits of gardening. Are there any other benefits you can add to your bubble map?

Discuss what you’ve learned about the history and benefits of Victory Gardens with a friend, family member, or teacher.

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Elaborate

Propaganda and informational campaigns played a big role in encouraging the creation of wartime Victory Gardens.

Take a closer look at the WWII Victory Garden posters.

Read this article about contemporary artist Joe Wirtheim’s inspiration. See some of his posters here.

Design an encouraging or persuasive poster about an issue you care about. Use Canva or draw it by hand!

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Extend

Check out these resources for information about starting your own garden!

Learn more about community gardens and edible education.

Smithsonian Gardens: Grown From The Past

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Teaching Tips

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Accessibility Feature

Turning on transcripts for YouTube Videos [PDF]

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Discussion

Talk to your student about any experiences you’ve had previously in growing a garden, or if you’ve ever wanted to. Explain what responsibilities and forethought go into maintaining a garden, and don’t be afraid to go in your backyard and get your hands dirty with them, touching the soil, and talking about how plants grow. If you have time, plan out a small garden plot, and talk about where you would put it, and what kinds of things you could grow, as well as what sorts of meals you could make with the garden.

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