Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Distributing Sugar, 1918

Plymouth County Sugar
Distribution Coupon, December, 1918
Unlike during World War II with its ration books and O. P. A. tokens, Middleborough and Lakeville in World War I were not subjected to compulsory food rationing, though the voluntary rationing of foodstuffs was encouraged by such organizations as the United States Food Administration and more locally by the Plymouth County Food Distributors’ Association.  Wheat, meat and sugar were all important foods which the government sought to conserve in order to supplement the food rations of America’s European allies.  Promotions such as “meatless Mondays” and “wheatless Wednesdays” looked to alter American eating habits and aid the war effort. Regarding sugar, the United States Food Administration produced posters promoting its conservation and the adoption of voluntary restrictions upon its consumption.  “Save that we may share” and “be proud to be a food saver” reminded the Food Administration.  While the nation was successful in reducing its food consumption by 15% and rationing was avoided, the distribution of goods was still strictly regulated as was the case of sugar.  To aid in local sugar distribution, Plymouth County instituted a formalized system with tickets such as the one pictured here being issued to control distribution of sugar.  Regulations upon the distribution of sugar remained in place for a number of months after the Armistice on November 11, 1918.

"Your Sugar Ration", U. S. Food Administration, Poster, 1917-18


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