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U.S. Food Administration


With America's entry into World War I (April, 1917) President Woodrow Wilson requested Herbert Hoover to leave his position as Chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium and return to this country to take charge of its wartime Food Administration. Three years of intense fighting in western Europe had devastated its people and their ability to farm. The Food Administration's goals were to provide food for its own troops and those of its Allies in war-torn Europe as well as to feed the American and Allied populations.

Hoover believed that unlike Europe, where strict food rationing had been instituted, food policy in the United States would be based on an entirely different idea: "Our conception of the problem in the United States is that we should assemble the voluntary effort of the people…We propose to mobilize the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice in this country."

"Food Will Win the War" became the slogan and the Food Administration's widely disseminated posters, articles, workshops and educational material resulted in a 15% reduction in domestic food consumption without rationing. This meant that in a 12-month period of 1918-1919, this country furnished 18,500,000 tons of food to the Allies.