The Victory Gardens

By Alan Graham

Coronado’s Own Victory Garden

In 1969, a local Coronado benefactor Frances Harpst decided to knock down some valuable commercial property on Orange Avenue and to put in an old-fashioned community garden – a victory garden of sorts.  It sat next door to the old San Diego Glass and Paint store which is now the Coronado Hardware store.

As part of the Second World War effort, the government rationed foods like sugar, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, coffee, meat, and canned goods.  Labor and transportation shortages made it hard to harvest and move fruits and vegetables to market. So, the government turned to its citizens and encouraged them to plant “Victory Gardens.”  They wanted individuals to provide their own fruits and vegetables.

Nearly 20 million Americans answered the call.  They planted gardens in backyards, empty lots, and even city rooftops. Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods, and formed cooperatives.

Farm families, of course, had been planting gardens and preserving produce for generations.  Now, their urban cousins got into the act — all in the name of patriotism.

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