Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and others on Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of what's believed to be one of the last remaining World War II Victory Community Gardens.
The Dowling Community Garden in southeast Minneapolis, a few blocks from the Mississippi River, was founded in the spring of 1943.
Jeffrey Loesch, a member of the garden steering committee, said it was part of a spontaneous movement by Americans who wanted to conserve food for World War II troops by growing their own vegetables.
"It wasn't like planned by the government or anything," Loesch said. "People thought that it was something they could do that would help the war effort by growing food for themselves and freeing up the commercially raised food for the troops and allies in Europe. It grew explosively."
Loesch added: "There's no original gardeners anymore, but there's two or three who are second generation. So they got their plots while the original founding gardeners were still active."
He said there is a closed waiting list that's about five or six years long, but the garden steering committee may open it up again this fall.
The garden, once 25 acres, is now about four-and-a-half, with 185 plots averaging about 400 square feet. Every plot is within 100 feet of an in-ground watering system. Yearly fees range from $18.50 to $70.