WWI: The School Garden Army

The government using propaganda to target children?  The use of the “Pied Piper” as the Government luring the children away seems rather creepy to me.

ARMY OF CHILDREN IS RECRUITED TO TEACH ECONOMY IN WAR TIME

By GEORGE MARTIN
(United Press Staff Correspondent)

WASHINGTON, Aug 29. — Uncle Sam has just recruited and trained an army of 800,000 American boys and girls, who will be on duty at state and county fairs everywhere this fall.

Their work now consists of helping their fathers and mothers preserve, pickle, dry and can the enormous surplus of America’s war gardens. Their work at the fairs will consist of practical demonstration of methods.

It is estimated that this juvenile army will exhibit its prowess and products to about 20,000,000 Americans.

They will be the principal attraction at the series of Food Training Camps the Department of Agriculture is organizing for every section of the country for late August, September and October.

The boys and girls in this great food drive are members of the thousands of Boys’ and Girls’ clubs organized by and working under the direction of the United States Department of Agriculture.

The national headquarters is at Washington with a specialist of the juvenile extension department in charge.

Each day at the Food Training camps the children will can and dry food product in different ways, giving the public a correct idea as to how it should be done.

The particular boys and girls who will demonstrate for the state colleges of agriculture and for the government, are now being chosen through a series of competitive tests in practically every community in the country. These contests are being held in the schools, at community fairs and picnics and at other public gatherings. Only the winners in the larger local contests, who have shown by their work that they are capable of discharging the tasks the government will give them, will be permitted to demonstrate at the Food Training Camps.

The Evening News – San Jose, CA – Aug 29, 1917

SCHOOLS  HAVE 7,089 GARDENS

“VICTORY” THE OFFICIAL NAME THIS YEAR

SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS ON THE PROGRESS OF THE WAR.

EVERY WEED A “HUN” AND MUST BE KILLED.

There are 7,089 gardens at the various school centers under cultivation, according to a bulletin issued by Dr. D.S. Foos, school superintendent. The report of the Reading school gardens for the spring of 1918 has been presented by the Supervisor G.W. Kreider, in charge of this feature of educational work.
A synopsis of the report follows:

“During February and March every school was visited and talks given as to how food can and will help win the war. The subject of equipment, the choosing of a desirable plot of ground, the conditions to be noted in good soil and location, and the possibilities in apparently inferior soil were topics taken up for discussion. Suggestions were offered on the development of a plan for their gardens so that all available space may be used to the best advantage. Emphasis was placed upon the subject of fertilization, the choosing of good seeds, planting and cultivation.

“Through the kindness of the officials at Washington we were able to get quite a quantity and a variety of good seeds, which were distributed among those who promised to use them. Many pupils purchased others in addition, realizing an opportunity of taking part in a project of educative advantage as well as performing a patriotic duty.

Over 7,000 Gardens.

“As a proof of the interest manifested by teachers and pupils in this project, there are reported at this time, 7,089 gardens under cultivation. Many of the teachers have 100 per cent. enrollment, and as high as 75 per cent. efficient gardens.

“The pupils this year have changed the name of ‘war gardens’ to ‘victory gardens,’ thus seeming to realize the meaning of their labor. They call the weeds ‘Huns’ and their slogan is ‘I will not be a slacker; I will kill the Huns.’

“Each teacher has been asked to supervise the gardens of her school, which plan last year proved very satisfactory.

“It is the intention of the committee of teachers to visit every garden a few times during the year, for the purpose of giving encouragement. At the same time the environment of the pupil may be studied and adverse conditions noted. Such cooperation with parents and the community will tend to make better citizens.

Tent Space at Fair.

“The Berks County Fair Association has consented to give us tent space this fall, where we may exhibit the products to advantage. To encourage the pupils in their garden work the association will offer a number of premiums. Through the kindness of the business people of the city of Reading we will be able to offer other useful premiums.

“It is the intention of the committee to have a list printed to be given to each pupil, stating the premium offered for the varieties of vegetables in proper quantities, feeling sure that through this incentive quite a number of new gardens will be cultivated.”

Reading Eagle – May 12, 1918

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