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:
- County work project tracts; laborers were paid hourly wages
- Local community projects were sponsored in return, or for exchange of the garden produce.
- 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 and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO (2003)
State Garden Programs/Canneries
Another objective of the State Garden Programs was to bolster up morale by creation of productive work. There were three types of gardens:
- The home garden — 250,000 people would receive food.
- The group garden — A family would be given a small plot for their garden. These gardens were planned for cities and communities where ground for gardens is not available. The location had to be where a large tract could be divided into 100-150 plots of about 3,000 square feet for assignment to a family.
- The community garden — a large acreage worked by men paid on work relief program.
Statewide, along with the relief gardens, approximately 200 canning centers were to be established. Among these, a relief canning center was established in Gallatin in July, 1934 which was said to be one of the best relief canning projects in the state in regard to canning equipment, etc.
The city council provided a room in the city hall for the canning room as well as furnishing the material to put the room in condition.
Women were to do the canning. The work was to be done on a 50/50 basis with one-half of the canned products going to the relief program and one-half going to the producer.
Anyone having a surplus of any garden product was asked to bring it to the center to be canned for a percentage of the finished product.
Canning from the gardens required a small charge for the cans which could be paid in exchange in labor.
Statewide, Missouri had a goal of 6,000,000 cans and more than 3,000 tons of vegetables to feed the needy. The food to be canned and stored would be raised in 75,000 home gardens and 3,000 acres of community gardens. The seeds and material were to be furnished free by the Missouri Relief and Reconstruction Commission. To implement the program the state purchased 53 carloads of tin cans.
Jamesport also raised relief gardens. The city rented a four acre tract of land of Harry Harrington in the west part of Jamesport. Members on the relief roll worked in the garden and were given script which was exchanged for food furnished by the government. The workers in the garden worked eight hour days at the rate of 25 cents per hour.
The City of Pattonsburg was short of water to use in watering their gardens. Upon their request, Jefferson City approved a grant to dig a well in order to save the gardens.
The canneries used to process vegetables would later be converted to process the drought cattle shipped to the markets.
— researched and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin (2003)