Miné Okubo, Untitled (Victory gardens, Central Utah Relocation Project, Topaz, Utah, 1942–1944), n.d., ink on paper. Japanese American National Museum, Gift of the Miné Okubo Estate (2000.62.190)
This is another drawing by Miné Okubo that depicts life at Topaz.
- What do you think the individuals in this drawing are doing?
- Where are they?
- Can you tell what the climate there is like by looking at this drawing?
In Citizen 13660 Okubo wrote the following about this image:
Despite reports that the alkaline soil was not good for agricultural purposes, in the spring practically everyone set up a victory garden. Some of the gardens were organized, but most of them were set up anywhere and any way. Makeshift screens were fashioned out of precious cardboard boxes, cartons, and scraps of lumber to protect the plants from the whipping dust storms.
Victory gardens were planted during wartime to help prevent a food shortage by reducing the demands on the country’s food supply. Eating homegrown produce was also important because the trains and trucks were needed to transport soldiers and weapons for the war. To eat food grown in your garden was a display of patriotism and a way for people to contribute to the war effort. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a big supporter of victory gardens and planted one at the White House.
It is interesting to consider that Japanese Americans incarcerated in camps participated in such a patriotic act during a time when they were not being treated fairly as Americans.