US Food AdministrationPosters from the Food Administration were displayed on bulletin boards, windows, light poles, post offices or any place that would attract America’s attention.  

Did food win World War I? A look at WWI food rationing rules

By Millie Vos
via the N’West Iowa web site

The U.S. Food Administration was an independent federal agency during the years of 1917-20 that controlled the production, distribution and conservation of food during America’s participation in World War I.

President Woodrow Wilson appointed Herbert Hoover to serve as the food administrator. Iowa’s food administrator was J.F. Deems.

The purposes of this agency were to prevent monopolies, hoarding, and control of foods. The Food Administration’s slogan was “Food will win the war.”

It adopted concepts such as “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays” to help ration food. The agency had few methods of enforcement, but it relied upon patriotic appeals and voluntary compliance.

The administration realized that food must be rationed. The Allied Nations were fighting and the men were not able to produce food on the farms as they were serving in the war effort. Neutral countries lacked manpower, fertilizer and machinery. Shipping food from faraway markets caused many difficulties.

There simply was not enough food in Europe, yet the soldiers must have food to maintain their full strength and their wives and children must not starve at home along with our own army in France.

The administration came to the conclusion that North America must furnish more food, so that meant that North America had to furnish food from their savings because we had already sent normal supplies of food.

Actually, America had plenty of food, and the Food Administration did not want our people to eat less than what was necessary to maintain good health and full strength. It suggested that some foods could be substituted for another kind of food without jeopardizing the health of the American people.

The agency felt the American people could sacrifice for the sake of our armed forces.

The Allies already had restricted the food consumption to the minimum for their people that was necessary for their health and strength. Belgium people were experiencing starvation. The Allied countries needed wheat, meat, fats and sugar. Americans were eating and wasting more food than we needed.

So, the Food Administration printed a card to be hung in the kitchen of every home in the United States. The title of this card was: “WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP WIN THE WAR.” It read:

Read the entire article on the N’West Iowa web site.

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