Community Canning in the Depression: A Case Study

April 30, 2011

Download Story
CHC/file

Deanna Pucciarelli delineates Ball Corporation’s role in food assistance to Muncie residents during the Depression, looking at the public projects that the corporation led and the involvement of the community.

Ball Corporation established businesses in Muncie as far back as 1888 and had become synonymous with canning. The company employed a large proportion of the Muncie workforce in its various factories and played a significant role in daily discourse.

Most households in suburban Muncie grew vegetables in their backyards. To help ease food cost burden to families, Ball Corporation set up community canning operations so that backyard garden produce could be canned for the winter. Ball Corporation also provided company land for apartment dwellers to grow food in community gardens.

Deanna Pucciarelli, is Assistant Department Chairperson and Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Ball State University, Muncie, IN. Dr. Pucciarelli’s research projects include investigating environmental determinants to human food consumption patterns. Another area of investigative interest is food history. Dr Pucciarelli teaches a course on food and culture with an emphasis on understanding the relationships between food consumption and socio-political influences.

This event was recorded as part of the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance Fourth Annual Symposium “Midwest Eats! Foodways of the Great Depression,” which focuses on the Great Depression’s impact on our culinary traditions.  Other events from this symposium recorded by Chicago Amplified—listed in the order they were presented—are as follows:

Midwest Eats!  Foodways of the Great Depression
Nightclubs and Bread Lines: Depression Era Foodways On Film
Templeton Rye of Iowa: Its History During and Just After the Prohibition
This Land is Whose land?
John Drury, Ace Chicago Restaurant Reporter of the 1930s
Community Canning in the Depression: A Case Study
Co-Eds at the Co-op: Student Depression-Era Foodways at Old Normal
Greater Midwest Foodways Heirloom Recipe Competition
No Longer does the Holiday Table Groan Under the Weight of Food
Steaks and Shakes and the Great Depression
Beer Production after Prohibition: Setting the Stage for the Rise of the Mega-breweries
The American (Bad) Dream: Soup Kitchens and European Immigrants in Chicago in the 1930s
Chicago’s Maxwell Street

Recorded Saturday, April 30, 2011 at Kendall College.