A study of the development of a food production and conservation program in Blacksburg, Virginia, 1943-1944

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute

The food standard of the National Nutrition Council was met much more nearly by users of the community canning center than by non-users.

Nearly all meat canned by the one hundred families interviewed was canned at the community canning center.

The Food Production War Training courses were, in 1943, their first year, composed largely of people who had not gardened or processed foods before. They averaged more quarts canned than did experienced gardeners not attending classes. The families of those not attending these classes averaged a greater annual consumption of potatoes and dried beans than was recommended for a healthful diet.

Evening School classes, which followed the interviews in 1943, were composed of members of families whose diet had shown an over-supply of potatoes and dried beans and a shortage of tomatoes. They made plans for 1944 gardens in which food in recommended proportions was to be produced. They planned to use improved methods of production. Row space and seeds ordered were "tailored to fit” the particular families concerned. They used improved practices recommended and increased their use of the canning center.

Families of the V. P. I. faculty provided the most adequate supply of vegetables in 1943. The negro group came second in this.

All groups needed an addition of tomatoes.

By using the canning center, the High Top and faculty groups led in the number of quarts of vegetables, apples, and meat canned.

Professional and farmer groups provided the most vegetables but the latter canned them very little.

Enumeration data show that lack of proper foods was more common among those not attending classes than among those attending.

Interest in diet, food production and conservation shown during the interviews seemed genuine. Lack of sufficient information on these subjects was prevalent. However, classes in 1943 and in 1944 were lightly attended.

As teaching aids, graphic means were most effective. Many such films, charts, and pictures are available.

No means of getting adequate whole grains into the diet has been established in the community studied.

The annual family food budget is of great value in covering the needs adequately and efficiently.

Information and facilities for a competent food conservation program are not lacking in the community of Blacksburg, yet a large proportion of its families have not yet become aware of their needs or of the means of providing for such needs.

Where interest is aroused, the group studying together find much information that is "news" to them and proceed, with improved practices, to gratifying results.

A valuable development of democracy is found in such groups where mutual interest and shared work bring people of many classes, occupations, and backgrounds together in the neighborhood and in the community.

Basic food needs are common to all people and interest in them is seldom lacking.

The integration of community life has a great opportunity in the food conservation program. Individual health and national coordination lie in such a program in the community.