Edward Penfield (1866-1925) was the artist who created this poster for the United States Food Administration during World War I. Online via the U.S. National Archives.


Although Americans did not have to endure food rations during the first world war, Britains did. By Christmas, 1917, U.K. rations (and lack of holiday food) had dampened the annual festive spirit.

Even though the United States did not ration food, the government urged people to conserve "before it is too late." Children were also called upon to show "thrift and economy" during the war:

At table I'll not leave a scrap
Of food upon my plate,
And I'll not eat between meals but
For supper time I'll wait. 

Wheat was an especially important foodstuff. Americans were urged to forego it whenever possible so that more could be sent overseas to feed soldiers and Allies. A poignant government message, tacked to a horse-drawn carriage in Mobile, Alabama, specifically addresses the needs of French women:

Will you help the Women of France?
They are struggling against starvation
and trying to feed not only themselves
and children: but their husbands and sons
who are fighting in the trenches.

Meat was always in short supply. When not enough was available to meet the rationed amounts in Britain, butchers were urged to fairly distribute what they had between registered customers.

Governments of countries at war, urged children—as well as adults—to conserve everything, including garbage. And the emotional appeals which were made directly to children are most interesting, especially when compared with today’s legal standards.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Aug 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Jul 06, 2019

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"CONSERVING FOOD IN WWI" AwesomeStories.com. Aug 01, 2003. Feb 23, 2020.
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