When Gardens Made History
Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Elizabeth Martineau in the Victory Garden behind the Hans Bethe House on Bathtub Row. Enterprise Bank’s support helped create this garden open daily to the public. Photo by Gordon McDonough
By SHARON SNYDER
Los Alamos Historical Society
The Los Alamos Historical Society is planting a victory garden for the second year in a row, an effort that connects us to the Manhattan Project years and the World War II era. It is a living connection not only to Los Alamos history but also to our national history.
The term victory garden dates back to World War I, when Americans were asked to grow “War Gardens”, but after the war, when the government encouraged the continuation of producing food in home gardens, the name changed to “Victory Gardens”. With the advent of a second world war, the idea was resurrected.
The planning of personal gardens to help with the production of food was in full swing again by 1943, with approximately 20 million victory gardens planted. The national promotion of the gardens was handled by the Department of Agriculture, and despite the fact that most of the citizen gardeners were unskilled, they managed to raise approximately 8 million tons of food. The following year, they produced 40 percent of the vegetables grown in the United States, accounting for more than a million tons of food.
These articles are written by the Los Alamos Historical Society Staff. Many of these articles were originally published by the