Wars Change Everything: World War II, Food, and Agriculture in America

The military demands of World War II had a profound effect on both farming and eating in America. The demands on the domestic supply of food for soldiers was unprecedented, with troops in 23 different climatic zones internationally dependent on American supplies. The U.S. was also supplying food to the Allies, another huge demand on domestic supplies.

The war created several surprising challenges to American food production and diet. First, in order to ensure that the military received the food it needed, the government created new ways of managing the country???s food supply, with lasting consequences for the farm sector. Second, war-time demands for farm products pushed farmers further away from diversified agricultural and toward mono-cropping. And third, the post-war glut of raw materials, particularly grains and dairy, set the stage for one of the most important 20th century innovations ??? the processing industry's creation and dominance of time-insensitive foods.