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Uncle Sam in the Kitchen

Charles Wille, 1918. Charles Wille was sent to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary for breaking the Oleomargarine laws. Photo Credit: National Archives, Records of the Bureau of Prisons.
Charles Wille, 1918. Charles Wille was sent to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary for breaking the Oleomargarine laws. Photo Credit: National Archives, Records of the Bureau of Prisons.

How the Government Shapes What We Eat

Listen to the story on KCUR’s website.

Government policies have a hand in just about everything Americans buy, cook and eat. An exhibit at the National Archives at Kansas City puts all of this in focus with a traveling exhibit called “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” The exhibit chronicles the history of the government policies that impact the food we eat.

Government involvement with food began as early as the American Revolution when soldiers were offered government food rations. Government involvement with food production and consumption dramatically increased in the early 1900’s, as mechanized farming meant more food, but also more exposure to food risks.

University of Missouri-Kansas City Associate Professor of History John Herron and National Archives at Kansas City Exhibits Specialist Dee Harris weighed in on this complicated history for a recent segment of KCUR-FM’s Central Standard.

KCUR-FM is a service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


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