From Ohio History Central
During World War I (1917-1918), the Food Administration encouraged the American people to grow their own food in war gardens. The gardens became known as victory gardens. During the conflict, the United States government wanted to guarantee that ample food existed for men serving in the armed forces and for America's allies overseas. By growing victory gardens, the American people could provide for themselves, instead of needing to purchase food grown by farmers. The federal government would then be able to send the farmers' produce overseas.
Americans across the United States heeded the government's call and planted victory gardens. Many urban families dug up their yards to provide for themselves and, thus, the soldiers. Apartment dwellers or other people without their own yards routinely received permission from local authorities to convert public parks into victory gardens. Like many other Americans, numerous Ohioans also rallied to support the war effort by planting gardens.
Upon the World War I's conclusion, victory gardens quickly declined in number. City parks, once again, became places to play, not places to grow fruits and vegetables. With World War II's outbreak in 1941, American citizens revived their victory gardens, contributing to the war effort to the best of their ability. Victory gardens became a way of supplementing families' diets during a time when many foods were scarce because of rationing.