Because of food rationing in WWII, people who lived in suburbs or rural areas ate much better than apartment or row house dwellers in cities. The federal government issued ration books to citizens for various items, including gasoline. Rationed items could not be purchased without the required stamp from the book for that item. Victory Gardens were used to not only supply fresh vegetables and fruits in the summer, but the housewife canned the excess produce. The canning process made the kitchen even hotter in the pre-air conditioning era of the forties. Some people rigged up an outdoor cooking area to sterilize the jars and seal them in a hot-water bath process. Others extended the home-produced food concept by keeping a few chickens for eggs and for Sunday dinner's entree, or a cow for milk and cream. In more recent times, I have seen many homes in rural France where the area we would call a front yard was used for vegetable gardening, as well as to flower gardening, with no grass in sight. Americans who have eaten only supermarket vegetables and fruits shipped from far-off climes have no idea what locally grown, farm market or home garden vegetables are like.
Whooo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Grass is a waste of time and energy. I have a neighbor down the road who must think that he is going to get some kind of a reward for perfect stripes across his lawn...ugh! Would much rather see a veggie garden and fruits/berries.
I remember my grandmother's Victory Garden in Lebanon, Mo. very well, I actually enjoyed pulling weeds for her when I was about seven. The family also bought local milk and cream and churned butter, made ice cream I can still taste -- my uncle grew sargum (sp?) and with a number of other families made their own molasses. When I finally moved from NYC to Long Island I decided, of course, that I would grow my own vegetables. I soon learned I had no skill at all and did much better with shrubs, flowers and ornamental trees. Fortunately there are a number of small farms around that still grow vegetables and have road stands -- they do green beans much better than I did. Regarding Victory Gardens -- in the 40's there were also many front yard gardens in red, white and blue that people called Victory Gardens
My 83 year old mother was just reminiscing about how her father could go out into the woods in Ohio and bring back mushrooms, frogs, wild berries, wild honeycombs, all kinds of goodies, and the family of two parents and 7 children lived just fine through the Depression and World War II. They owned probably less than 1/2 acre of land, but they had many vegetable and flower gardens, and chickens to boot! I remember, when I was little, visiting my grandmother's house...hardly a scrap of grass anywhere, but I thought it was just beautiful, so many little walks and things to see outside. I just bought a house with about 1/3 of an acre of land. Let's just say the grass is going to be down-sized as quickly as possible, even subtly in the front yard. Who wants to mow the lawn on a hot August Saturday??