Meatless Monday Then and Now

Meatless Tuesday World War II Nedick's restaurant, New York

This post was co-authored by Victoria Brown and Becky Ramsing. Meatless Monday as most people know it today began in 2003 with the work of former ad man turned health advocate Sid Lerner and the founder of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Bob Lawrence. But the idea of a meatless day was not totally new, harkening back to the United States’s entry into the first World War 100 years ago. National meatless (and wheatless) days were introduced in 1917 to conserve rations for troops fighting overseas, both in World War I and later World War II. With the focus on reducing at-home consumption of meat during the wars, the practice of Meatless Tuesdays (later Meatless Mondays) was founded Read More >

Wartime Rationing, Food Supply and Meatless Campaigns

Today is World Food Day, a day of action dedicated to achieving Zero Hunger worldwide. So it seems especially appropriate today to consider the predictions concerning the rising population, which may reach 11.2 billion by 2100. A common concern associated with more people on the planet is food production and access. How will we produce enough food to feed a growing population? And how do we do this sustainably? One potential solution lies in what we do with the food we produce: we currently waste about one third of the food we produce for human consumption annually.

For some new solutions we can look back to the old, particularly the food conservation efforts of the First and Second World Wars, when massive food redistribution programs sought to reduce American at-home food consumption and channel more food overseas to Allied soldiers and Europeans. During the First World War, the amount of food consumed

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Women, the World Wars and the Meatless Campaigns

Meatless Mondays aren’t new. Nor is eating less wheat, raising chickens, or planting backyard vegetable gardens.

One hundred years ago, on the World War I home front, the fork became a rifle and the kitchen a trench. “Every gardener in the land has a part to take in the fight! His duty awaits him just as certainly, and, if anything, more imperatively, in the rows of vegetables in his garden, as does that of the soldier in the trenches at the front,” proclaimed the Wisconsin’s Sheboygan Press in 1918. “The gardener who does not plan his garden Read More >

Happy National Food Pledge Week

be-patriotic-2The first food pledge week was October 29 through November 4, 1917. Yes, 1917! It was an effort by the federal government, with President Woodrow Wilson at the helm, to introduce voluntary rationing of critical resources during World War I. Along with gasless Sundays, Americans were asked to practice meatless Mondays and wheatless Wednesdays.

In 1917, the passage of the Lever Act was intended to direct the conservation of food and fuel. United States Food Administrator Herbert Hoover, appointed by President Wilson, launched a campaign that same year in which homemakers were asked to sign a pledge to conserve food in support of war efforts. First Lady Edith Wilson was the first to sign the pledge. Pledge signers received a “Membership Window Card” to be displayed in their homes. Read More >