During World War II, the U.S. government encouraged citizens to grow their own fruits and vegetables in "victory gardens" to help prevent a national food shortage, as much of the nation's food supply was diverted to the military. The United States was home to approximately 20 million victory gardens in the early 1940s, and it is estimated that these gardens accounted for 30 to 40 percent of all vegetables in the U.S.
Other nations have used the same strategy during times of war and other hardship, though these gardens may have been referred to by different official terminology. Victory gardens and other types of war gardens not only help ensure that a nation's populace remains fed during wartime, but in many cases, these gardens are also seen as a means of civilian participation in a war effort. Morale-boosting terms such as "victory garden" help to instill a feeling of patriotism in the act of cultivating food.