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The Gospel of the Clean Plate

Watch THE GREAT WAR, a three-night event, on PBS starting Monday, Apr 10 at 9/8c.
A post with a clean plate urging people to leave a clean dinner plate & take only food as they will eat; since thousands are starving in Europe. Library of Congress


During the Great War, with most of Belgium and large parts of France under German occupation, and farmers off at the front, millions of Europeans were struggling to survive. America, on the other hand, was an agricultural powerhouse, whose output of food could become as important as its manpower or its financial resources. In December 1917, Herbert Hoover, America’s first Food Administrator, proclaimed “food will win the war.

As many as 500,000 women volunteers fanned out across their communities, urging neighbors to sign a food pledge. Fourteen million families put a sign in their window showing that they were behind the campaign.

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