Gardens were first grown in Canada and the United States during World War I to
offset food shortages brought about by lack of manpower and
transportation. During World War II they
took on even more significance and were also grown in Britain and Australia.
community gardens or home gardens they provided access to much needed food, as
well as offering a morale booster and sense of empowerment. A shortage of agricultural workers and
packaging led to food rationing and increased prices. By growing fruits and vegetables families
were able to meet their nutritional needs.
|Garden and farm supply businesses, like
Brevard Hardware, advertised specials on
tools, seed and fertilizer.
Transylvania Times, April 4, 1946.
local level a search of the springtime issues of the Transylvania Times between
the years of 1942-1946 revealed a push for all families to carry out their
patriotic duty by growing a vegetable garden.
They printed educational articles, along with charts and tables with information on when to
plant, how much to plant per person and suggestions for small, medium and large
Service Agent, Julian A. Glazener led the activities to promote home gardens by
sharing step-by-step instructions from planning the size and location of the
plot to harvesting and preserving the crop.
Schools, civic clubs, 4-H clubs and home demonstration clubs all took an
was not unusual for farm families, many of those who lived in town no longer
depended on gardens for their produce. Families
were also encouraged to raise rabbits, chickens and goats for meat, eggs and
1943 it was reported that there were over 3000 gardens planned county
wide. This included 912 of the 925 farms
in the county. One thousand Ecusta
families had home gardens and another 95 had plots at the mills 50-acre
community garden. Employees of
Silversteen’s industries, Wheeler’s Hosiery and Pisgah Mills all had gardens at
home or on rented plots.
Transylvania Tanning offered “settlings” from their clearing pools to enrich
poor soil. Many downtown businesses
closed on Thursday afternoons to allow employees time to work in gardens.
1944, home demonstration clubs of Transylvania County reported that 361 members
canned 35,501 quarts and brined 462 gallons of produce. They also dried 465 pounds of fruits and
vegetables. In addition, $420.12 was
raised from the sale of garden products.
community cannery was operated at Brevard High’s NYA hut when school was not in
session. Individuals did their own
canning with assistance from the supervisor.
The only cost was for the cans at a rate of 6 and 7 cents per can. The operation had a capacity of 1300 cans per
|This advertisement from the April 4, 1946 issue of the Transylvania Times
emphasized the continued value of gardening to fight hunger.
the war many local families continued to have home gardens but the number and
size decreased over time. Ecusta continued to offer plots for employees in their community garden for more than 50 years.
community Victory Gardens ceased to exist over time. The two remaining continuously-operating WWII
Victory Gardens are the Fenway Victory Gardens in Boston and Dowling Community
Garden in Minneapolis. During the last
20 years there has been renewed interest in both community and family gardens
across the United States.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at