National WWII Museum sows educational seeds

Website encourages wartime victory gardens

“Food waste is the enemy, food thrift the battle cry and food conservation the weapon” — WWII Victory Garden rallying cry

NEW ORLEANS — “Grow for Victory!” During World War II millions of ordinary Americans heeded that call, planting their own fresh vegetables in Victory Gardens to augment wartime food rations. This spring The National WWII Museum resurrects the tradition. Its free web-based, age-appropriate curriculum teaches modern elementary students how to plant and tend their own Victory Gardens as a way to learn about Home Front history. The site is www.classroomvictorygarden.org.

The Classroom Victory Garden Project is the first curriculum of its kind and will be available to teachers across the country via the new multi-faceted website. There, educators will have access to a free, interdisciplinary curriculum taught through gardening, including social studies, literacy, math, science and art modules.

“Millions of Americans grew Victory Gardens in their backyards during the war to supplement their food rations,” said National WWII President and CEO Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller. “The Classroom Victory Garden Project provides a lively, student-friendly introduction to the World War II era and can be used to create a school-wide garden to further build on the goals of teamwork and community.” The project’s theme “Growing Gardens, Growing Citizens” brings to life the connection between past and present and the continuing relevance of the lessons of the World War II era. 

In addition to its other features, the website includes printable classroom activities, interactive games, gardening videos and recipes, and offers a free classroom poster. The Museum project also has a videoconference capability, enabling students to further explore the history of the Home Front during World War II.

During World War II, Victory Gardens were initially overseen by the National War Garden Commission and more than three million gardens were created nationwide. At that time, Charles L. Pack, president of the National War Garden Commission, said, “Food waste is the enemy, food thrift the battle cry and food conservation the weapon. The call to arms is urgent and involves every household in America.” Many Americans heeded that call to action and, by the end of the war, Victory Gardens accounted for 40 percent of total U.S. produce.

Schools participating in The Classroom Victory Garden project can work together to submit slideshows of their gardens, make recipes using what they grow, and then share their gardening experiences online. For more information, visit www.classroomvictorygarden.org

The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National World War II Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org . Follow them on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.

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