Home & Garden Home 16 Great Posters on Preserving Food, When It Was Life or Death By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated February 14, 2016 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Home Sustainable Eating Pest Control Natural Cleaning DIY Family Green Living Thrift & Minimalism It's that time of year when the harvest is coming in, and people are boiling bottles doing their canning. It has become a popular hobby and a great way to save money, but during World War I and II it was a critical part of the war effort. Twenty million American families had victory gardens, and when autumn came, much of that had to be preserved. 1 of 16 Waste Not Want Not credit: McGill Collection As in this WWI poster from the McGill Canadian War Poster collection shows, mom passed on the skills to daughter. Join the party: Kelly shows you how to can tomatoes. 2 of 16 Are you a victory canner? credit: US Dept of Agriculture Staying on the sidelines for two years meant that Americans were late to the Victory Garden and canning scene, and their posters started off being a little melodramatic, with a young lady liberty dressed in the flag. 3 of 16 Prepare for the next war credit: National War Garden Commission She got around; this version confused me, preparing for the next war. America had just entered the first one. 4 of 16 Preserve credit: Carter Housh More subtle and more interesting is this series of posters by Carter Housh, who was an illustrator for McCalls in a sort of Maxfield Parrish / art deco style. I just love these, wonderful graphic design. 5 of 16 Carter Housh credit: Carter Housh This is my favorite: Columbia gets canning. 6 of 16 Uncle Sam credit: Carter Housh It's not just women's work; Uncle Sam got into it too. 7 of 16 Women, Get to Work! credit: Pennsylvania State College Although at Penn State, it is clearly the women who are the fount of canning wisdom. 8 of 16 London calling credit: Food Production Department London It was much the same in Britain, although there are not a lot of canning posters to be found. 9 of 16 Can All You Can WWI credit: National War Garden Commission Can all you Can was a popular slogan in World War I. 10 of 16 Can all You Can WWII credit: University of Minnesota This carried right through to World War II. 11 of 16 Am I Proud! credit: Hennepin collection This poster is perhaps the most famous of the WWII canning posters, you can see it everywhere. 12 of 16 You can learn credit: unknown This looks rather like my old darkroom, now lined with shelves and full of my wife's canning, although that certainly doesn't look like Kelly. 13 of 16 Lots to eat credit: Hennepin collection And my favorite WWII canning poster, the mom and daughter in matching outfits, hard at work. There is something demonic in that child's eyes, I often wonder what or who is really going into those jars. 14 of 16 Victory Garden of Tomorrow credit: Joe Wirtheim It is still happening; Artist Joe Wirtheim's Victory Garden of Tomorrow project includes this one about preserving. He describes the poster: Yes-- those are space pickles. Space is a vacuum, the perfect place to can. Preserving food has re-emerged as a household activity. My own grandma would pick local Ohio peaches and strawberries, can them and fill shelves in the basement with these colorful mason jars. Plus, I like how this rack looks like the space station in the film poster of "2001: A Space Odyssey." 15 of 16 Collect your own! credit: Library of Congress If you want to get bigger, better copies or other posters, here are my favorite sources: Library of Congress, Hennepin County Library, Vintage Maine Images University of Minnesota and Beans are Bullets. 16 of 16 Holy Victory Garden Batman credit: Superman Also, I just discovered this, the best collection that I have found yet on Pinterest, by Pam Dewey.