The History of Foodways in Florida
Teacher's Guide for Food in Florida During World War II

Victory Gardens, Black Markets and Rationing

During the World War II era, state and federal officials described food as one of the United States' most vital weapons in its struggle against the Axis Powers. Food was needed for both the soldiers fighting abroad and the civilians left on the homefront. The United States was also a critical food producer for its allies around the world. To ensure an adequate supply of food, the United States government adopted a variety of measures to influence, and sometimes even control, the production, marketing and consumption of foodstuffs.

Some of these measures had the force of law, including price controls and resource allocations geared more toward food producers and markets. Other programs were designed to encourage everyday consumers to modify their food-related habits for the wartime emergency. Americans were encouraged to avoid waste, to grow and preserve their own food whenever possible, and to obey the regulations set down in the food rationing scheme developed by the federal government.

About These Documents

These documents demonstrate the importance of food during the wartime emergency as well as the steps taken by the government to conserve the food supply with the cooperation of everyday citizens.

Some of these documents, such as “What Uncle Sam Asks of You,” “Still a Feast,” “Have You Told Fido or Kitty,” “Save and Serve” and “Promoting Onions,” are examples of appeals the government issued to everyday citizens suggesting ways they could modify their food-related behaviors to conserve food during the wartime emergency. The suggested procedures themselves may be interesting for students, but just as important are the emotional appeals the authors used to convince citizens of the necessity of these measures. In many cases, the authors equate food with actual weapons and associate food conservation with patriotic fervor.

The food-related posters in this section are excellent for students of all ages because they express the essential principles of food conservation in an accessible form.

Big Questions

  • What role does food play in warfare?
  • How did citizens participate in efforts to conserve food during World War II?
  • Who are the authors of these documents? Who were the intended readers of these documents? What objectives did the authors have in creating them?
  • What points do the authors emphasize to illustrate the importance of food during the wartime emergency?

Sunshine State Standards

  • SS.4.A.1.1: Analyze primary and secondary resources to identify significant individuals and events throughout Florida history.
  • SS.4.A.7.3: Identify Florida's role in World War II.

    Examples may include, but are not limited to, warfare near Florida’s shores and training bases in Florida (Miami, Tampa, Tallahassee, etc.), spying near the coast, Mosquito Fleet.

  • SS.912.A.6.1: Examine causes, course, and consequences of World War II on the United States and the world.
  • SS.912.A.6.15: Examine key events and peoples in Florida history as they relate to United States history.

    Examples may include, but are not limited to, Mosquito Fleet, “Double V Campaign”, construction of military bases and WWII training centers, 1959 Cuban coup and its impact on Florida, development of the space program and NASA.

  • SS.912.A.6.4: Examine efforts to expand or contract rights for various populations during World War II.

    Examples may include, but are not limited to, women, African-Americans, German Americans, Japanese Americans and their internment, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Italian Americans.

  • SS.912.A.6.5: Explain the impact of World War II on domestic government policy.

    Examples may include, but are not limited to, rationing, national security, civil rights, increased job opportunities for African-Americans, women, Jews, and other refugees.

Florida Standards

  • LAFS.4.RI.1.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • LAFS.4.RI.1.2: Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
  • LAFS.4.RI.1.3: Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
  • LAFS.4.RI.3.9: Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • LAFS.4.RI.1.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • LAFS.K12.R.1.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • LAFS.68.RH.1.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  • LAFS.68.RH.1.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • LAFS.910.RH.1.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
  • LAFS.910.RH.1.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.1.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.1.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.2.6: Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.3.8: Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.3.9: Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.