Drought Heightens Demand for Relief Gardens

In 1934, the government established three types of relief gardens to help feed the hungry people. The demand for these gardens were expected to exceed any year thus far with 60,000 gardens to be planted in the Missouri, including some in Daviess County.

In 1934, the government established three types of relief gardens to help feed the hungry people. The demand for these gardens were expected to exceed any year thus far with 60,000 gardens to be planted in the Missouri, including some in Daviess County.

It was hoped the gardens would both provide fresh garden products for 250,000 needy Missourians, as well as build up the moral of the workers and their families. The three types of gardens were small family gardens, group gardens, and community gardens.

The community gardens involved a large acreage which was worked and the workers paid on a work relief basis. The group gardens were planned for cities and communities where ground for gardens were not available and where a large tract could be divided into 100 to 150 plots of about 3,000 sq.ft. – approximately the area of a garden 100’x30′ – for a family. Canning projects were also planned for the group and the community gardens.

The City of Pattonsburg was granted permission from the relief headquarters to dig a well to try to save their garden. The demand for the garden products would be great because at this time 37 more counties, including Daviess County, had just been listed as having acute water shortages.

These new additions made 61 counties in the state to be placed in line for full participation in the government’s program to relieve suffering brought about by water deficiency.

In 1934, the government established three types of relief gardens to help feed the hungry people. They were:

1. County work project tracts; laborers were paid hourly wages

2. Local community projects were sponsored in return, or for exchange of the garden produce.

3. Cooperative projects worked by people from the relief rolls who divided the harvest proportionately to the number of hours they worked each week.

In spite of the drought, relief gardens produced many tons of food which in turn required canning centers to be established to can the products which were grown. In turn, the canned vegetables were distributed to relief clients.

In the month of November 1934, nearly 1,200 people from 300 families were given food in Daviess County due to the Federal and State relief aid.

The foodstuff was distributed three days per week at three county points – namely Gallatin, Jamesport, and Pattonsburg. Typical portions were: 10 pounds of sugar; one can of pears; one can of beef broth; one and one-half pounds of canned beef; one package of rice. Sometimes butter and other foods were given, and there was always plenty of flour.

In July 1934, the government came out with a program in which an estimated 60,000 home gardens would be established in Missouri in hopes they’d provide food for 250,000 people. Daviess County towns, as well as nearby towns, had many home gardens or relief gardens.

Gallatin was one of the local towns that established a cannery to process the vegetables.

The relief office at Braymer in Caldwell County ran short of foodstuff at one time and over 3,000 cans of pears were shipped from the Gallatin exchange. At that time, Gallatin had over 80,000 cans of pears to be given away.

Most of the food was state grown and state purchased and was to be used in Missouri only.

Gallatin Democrat: “Families May Keep All Vegetables Raised,” State Buys 53 Carloads of Tin Cans” 1934, “Jamesport Garden Best In Daviess County” 7/5/34, “Plans 60,000 Home Gardens in State” — Researched by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin (2003)