Skip to main content
Catalog No. —
OrHi 104897
Date —
July 28, 1946
Era —
1921-1949 (Great Depression and World War II)
Themes —
Agriculture and Ranching, Government, Law, and Politics, Trade, Business, Industry, and the Economy, Women
Credits —
Portland Oregonian
Regions —
Portland Metropolitan Willamette Basin
Author —
Portland Oregonian

Victory Food Volunteers

In order to address the food needs of both a massive army and the over 130 million people living in the United States during World War II, Congress established emergency farm labor programs. Various federal departments, including the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Labor, organized aggressive labor recruiting programs--in part, by taking advantage of each state's land grant college extension services. Millions of people volunteered for farm labor by joining programs such as the Women's Land Army, the Bracero program, the Victory Farm Volunteers, and the U.S. Crops Corp. 

Young people were recruited in huge numbers. Children in Oregon spent many weeks of their summer and spring vacations in the fields, either with their parents or in groups like this one, where kids from the same school were bussed out to a farm in Gresham. These kids attended Kellogg School in southeast Portland, and they worked with this farmer for four years in a row.

The people in the photo are identified as: (front) Kaye Don Booth, Gloria Adams, Barbara Waldow, Marlene Negelspa, Loretta Bullset, and Dorothy Freborg; (back) Gary Negelspa, Sally Kingston, Donna Waldow, Lorna Davis, Sandra Kingston, Mrs. Gladys Negelspa (platoon leader), Marjorie Wetzler, Barbara Wetzler, and C.R. Hopkins (farmer).

Girls were as welcome on the farm as boys were (as this picture makes clear), a practical nessessity for a time when farm quotas were high and labor shortages were an ongoing problem for farmers. 

Written by Amy E. Platt

Further Reading

Litoff, Judy Barrett, and David Smith. "The Women's Land Army during World War II." National Archives, Prologue Magazine 25:4 (Winter 1993).