Food is Ammunition

Title Food is Ammunition
Creator John E. Sheridan
Date 1918
Format 21 x 29 in
Description John E. Sheridan’s poster for the U.S. Food Administration connects domestic food consumption to military victory through the metaphor of ammunition. At the center of the poster is a wicker basket overflowing with brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Many Food Administration posters ask viewers to consume fruits, vegetables, and fish so that wheat, meat, and fats can be shipped overseas, a message that this poster communicates visually through the produce contained in the basket. The verbal message, however, focuses on the problem of food waste by stating “Food is Ammunition-Don’t waste it.” Equating food consumption to war is further established visually by placing the food basket in physical proximity to the battlefield. Above and behind the basket lies a silhouette of several soldiers on horseback against an orange sky. While the features of the soldiers are obscured in shadow, the soldier in the middle hoists a fully colored American flag. Although WWI marked a significant transition toward mechanized warfare, horses were still used in combat, and the author’s decision to place the soldiers on horseback imbues the image with a romantic connotation.
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