The U.S. Department of Agriculture encouraged people on the home front to grow their own produce in family or community gardens. Growing fruits and vegetables was encouraged to lower demand and thus the cost of feeding U.S. troops. Civilians were able to keep and use what they grew, since fresh produce was not rationed. By 1943, nearly 20 million gardens were planted; during the war Victory Gardens produced about 1/3 of vegetables grown in the U.S. Posters often showed gardening as a family activity in which children could participate to support the war effort.