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which would touch every individual; brusque in manner, he avoided giving the offense which naturally follows any interference with the people's dinner and which would destroy the essential spirit of voluntary coöperation.
Five days after the declaration of war, President Wilson, through the Council of National Defense, named a committee on food supply, with Hoover at its head, and shortly thereafter named him food commissioner. Hoover began his work of educating the people to realize the necessity of economy and extra-production; but he lacked the administrative powers which were essential if his work was to prove effective, and it was not until August that Congress passed the Lever Act which provided for strict control of food under an administrator. This measure encountered strong opposition in the Senate and from the farmers, who feared lest the provisions against hoarding of food would prevent them from holding their products for high prices. Wilson exerted his personal influence vigorously for the bill in the face of congressional opposition, which demanded that large powers of control should be given to a Senate committee of ten, and he was finally successful in his appeal. He thereupon appointed Hoover Food Administrator with
practically unlimited powers, legalizing the work already begun on his own initiative.
Hoover at once made arrangements to prevent the storage of wheat in large quantities and to eliminate speculative dealings in wheat on the grain exchanges. He then offered to buy the entire wheat crop at a fair price and agreed with the millers to take flour at a fair advance on the price of wheat. Fearful lest the farmers should be discouraged from planting the following year, 1918, he offered to buy all the wheat that could be raised at two dollars a bushel. If peace came before the crop was disposed of, the Government might be compelled to take over the wheat at a higher price than the market, but the offer was a necessary inducement to extensive planting. In the meantime Hoover appealed to the country to utilize every scrap of ground for the growing of food products. Every one of whatever age and class turned gardener. The spacious and perfectly trimmed lawns of the wealthy, as well as the weed-infested back yards of the poor, were dug up and planted with potatoes or corn. Community gardens flourished in the villages and outside of the larger towns, where men, women, and children came out in the evening, after their regular work, to labor with rake and hoe. There
were perhaps two million "war gardens" over and beyond the already established gardens, which unquestionably enabled many a citizen to reduce his daily demands on the grocer, and stimulated his interest in the problem of food conservation. As a result of Hoover's dealing with the farmers, during the year 1917 the planted wheat acreage exceeded the average of the preceding five years by thirtyfive million acres, or by about twelve per cent, and another additional five million acres were planted in 1918. The result was the largest wheat crop in American history except that of 1915, despite the killing cold of the winter of 1917 and the withering drought of the summer of 1918. An increase in the number of live stock was also secured and the production of milk, meat, and wool showed a notable development.
Hoover achieved equal success in the problem of conserving food. He realized that he must bring home to the individual housewife the need of the closest economy, and he organized a nation-wide movement to secure voluntary pledges that the rules and requests of the Food Administration would be observed. People were asked to use other flours than wheat whenever possible, to be sparing of sugar and meat, to utilize substitutes, and rigidly
to avoid waste. On every billboard and in all the newspapers were to be seen appeals to save food. Housewives were enrolled as “members of the Food Administration” and were given placards to post in their windows announcing their membership and the willingness of the family to abide by its requests. Certain days of the week were designated as “wheatless” or “meatless" when voluntary demi-fasts were to be observed, the nonobservance of which spelled social ostracism. To "Hooverize” became a national habit, and children were denied a spoonful of sugar on their cereal," because Mr. Hoover would not like it.” Hoover, with his broad forehead, round face, compelling eyes, and underhung jaw, became the benevolent bogey of the nation. It was a movement of general renunciation such as no country had undergone except at the pinch of biting necessity.' In the meantime prices were prevented from rapid increase by a system of licenses, which tended to prevent hoarding or speculation. Attempts to capitalize the need of the world for private gain, or in common parlance, to
* Restaurants and hotels coöperated; during a period of only two months they were reported as having saved nine thousand tons of meat, four thousand tons of flour, and a thousand tons of sugar. City garbage plants announced a decrease in the amount of garbage collected ranging from ten to thirteen per cent.
"profiteer,” were comparatively rare and were adequately punished by revocation of license or by forced sale of hoardings.
As a result of the organization of food supply, the stimulation of production, and the prevention of waste, America was able to save the Entente nations, and, later, much of central and southeastern Europe from starvation, without herself enduring anything worse than discomfort. The Government was able at the same time to provide the troops in France with food which, to the poilus at least, seemed luxurious. When the United States entered the war the country was prepared to export 20,000,000 bushels of wheat; instead it sent over 141,000,000. In four months, in the summer of 1918, the American people saved out of their regular consumption and sent abroad half a million tons of sugar. The autumn of 1918 saw an increase of nearly a million tons of pork products over what was available the previous year. Altogether, during the crop year of 1918, America doubled the average amount of food sent to Europe immediately before the war, notwithstanding unfavorable weather conditions and the congestion of freight that resulted from other war necessities. The total contribution in foodstuffs exported to