Educator Resources

In Freedom's Name: Food Conservation Efforts During World War I

"In Freedom's Name":   Food Conservation Efforts During World War I

While being fought overseas, World War I also touched the everyday lives of Americans. To ensure adequate food supplies for our troops and war-torn Europeans, President Wilson established the U.S. Food Administration with an Executive Order on August 10, 1917. Led by Herbert Hoover, the U.S. Food Administration assured the supply, distribution, and conservation of food. Hoover encouraged people to follow the "gospel of the clean plate," and designated meatless, sweetless, wheatless, and porkless days of the week. State food administrators appointed by Hoover oversaw and implemented these programs, as well as a licensing system for restaurants and businesses.

The Illinois State Food Administration officials distributed the four-by-two inch size card as a means to promote food conservation in the state, and the letters spurred by Clifford V. Gregory, the editor of the Prairie Farmer, called for the card's retraction.


Record Group 4, Records of the U.S. Food Administration, Illinois Federal Food Administrator Letters, April 1918

  • Propaganda Flyer, Illinois Federal Food Administrator, ca. 1918, Record Group 4, Records of the U.S. Food Administration [USFA], 1917-1920.
    Document   |   Transcript
  • Correspondence regarding The Prairie Farmer, Illinois Federal Food Administrator, April 1918, Record Group 4, Records of the U.S. Food Administration [USFA], 1917-1920.
    Document   |   Transcript

Guided Questions

  • What does this flyer encourage Americans to do?
  • Why would the activities mentioned above be necessary?
  • What motivational/persuasive techniques are used?
  • Do you think it worked? Why/Why not?
  • Why would the editor of a magazine entitled the Prairie Farmer be upset by this flyer?
  • After reading Gregory's letter, why is he displeased with the flyer?

Extension Activities


Encourage students to create a "patriotic" meal plan for a family of four for a week during WW I. Utilize National Archives resources to determine appropriate food and recipes.

Further Research:

Discover how effective the U.S. Government was in managing resources and conserving food. Locate resources that demonstrate whether Americans responded to the calls for conservation.


National History Standards

Era 7:   The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930)

  • Standard 2C:   The student understands the impact at home and abroad of the United States involvement in World War I.

Additional Resources