Highland women worked creatively to maintain the food supply of World War I – Daily Bulletin

An “army” of highland women in 1917 invaded the home science rooms at Chaffey High in Ontario, intent on getting rid of waste.

Far from the devastation wrought by World War I in distant Europe, women’s hands were filled with something important in wartime – the production and preservation of food.

Lead designer – Roberta Keith Howe of Upland – assembled the first group of 35 women on August 21 in classes at Chaffee.

The next day, “Society’s Women Do Their Part” was the headline of the Los Angeles Times describing their motivations. The Sun wrote on August 22 that they were there “to do their part towards concretely maintaining the nation’s food supply”.

Under the guidance of local science teachers at Chaffey High, on the first day the women learned to canning fruits and vegetables, supplementing with more than 40 liters of discarded produce from local farms. By October, they had produced 610 pints of jams and jellies, preserved fruits and vegetables, and 250 pounds of dried apples, peaches, plums, and prunes.

“While these numbers don’t look like much on paper, they represent a great deal of good and faithful work,” Howe said in The Times on October 7.

“In many cases, the women actually went to the orchards and picked the fruit themselves. In each case we were only eating the fruit that otherwise would have been lost.”

Howe arranged for women from Upland and Ontario to meet two mornings a week in Chaffee that summer to produce canned food for military or domestic use. When classes resumed in high school, the women were asked to continue canning in their homes using the skills learned.

While this preserved food is not likely to be shipped to Europe, Howe said that if the military can’t use it, it will be used “for charitable purposes here in Upland and we mean to make sure they really go to those in need,” she told The Times on October 7. One: don’t we really fatten our tables.

This movement arose out of a local front program called the National Women’s Defense Council that urged civilians in every town to do their part. In Uppland, the city was organized into 13 districts to support the action, each with an appointed captain and two lieutenants.

The work was motivated by the fact that food was very scarce after years of war in Europe. The United States found itself providing food for the military and civilians there.

Charles J. Booth, head of agriculture at Chaffee, spoke to the women as the work began and “made it clear that we must think from a global perspective, and that what is lost in Upland today will unfortunately be wanted in another part of the world tomorrow,” the Upland News reported on 23 August. Little bodies will starve if we don’t do our part.

Howe’s group also visited local homes, speaking with women about making donations of sugar and canning cans for this effort as well as emphasizing the need for food preservation, the news reported on July 11, 1918.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: