Needing to feed hungry soldiers while at the same time preventing a food shortage for civilians, the United States government encouraged all able American families to grow victory gardens in their backyards, rooftops and window boxes. Knowing that women were the primary food preparers of average households in the 1940s, CF&I Blast newspaper reporters reprinted recipes and wrote articles with women in mind. Articles included tips to grow larger, healthier fruits and vegetables and suggestions of attractive ways to serve the vegetables at the dinner table. Americans were also encouraged to can and preserve any excess food grown in the summer and eat it during the winter to supplement the rationed amount of food throughout the country. Friendly rivalry contests held in Pueblo included those for not only the largest and most plentiful vegetables, but also the most varied gardens. Gardeners pictured are Patricia Twombley, Ruth Relator and Margaret Gramley, members of the “HAGS” club sponsored at the Steelworks YMCA, standing for “H” (hose), “A” (and), “G” (gardening), “S” (society).
The US Department of Agriculture estimated that more than 20 million victory gardens were planted nationwide during the War years.