Canning, also called “putting up,” is the process of preserving food in metal cans or jars.
Community canneries developed in the U.S. during World War I when, facing food shortages, the government put out the call for citizens to plant their own “victory gardens” and preserve their harvest so the U.S. could ship more food overseas to soldiers.
Using commercial-grade equipment, you can put up in a few hours what would take days to accomplish at home, with the added benefits of messing up someone else’s kitchen instead of your own, and enjoying the community of other canners.
In 1945, there were 6,000 canneries in operation, but over time their popularity has waned. There are now only a fraction of canneries still operating.
These photos were taken at the Keezletown Cannery near Harrisonburg, VA, one of the oldest continually operating canneries in the U.S. Sadly, it shut down in 2017, and a piece of local history and a helpful community service was lost.