The Keezletown Cannery
A community cannery is a facility where individuals can
bring in their produce and, for a nominal fee, can it on commercial-grade equipment.
Putting up large batches of produce can be done in a fraction of the time it
takes to can at home, and there is a trained staff person on hand to offer help
and guidance. Local groups, such as churches, will often come to can produce together.
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 to preserve their harvests. The response
was tremendous, and community canneries began sprouting up all over.
They became less popular after the war, but then regained
that popularity during World War II, when women were encouraged to support the
nation by canning the produce grown in their garden. In 1945, there were 6,000
canneries in operation.
And it’s been like that ever since, with the popularity of
canneries rising and falling. Despite the recent resurgence of interest in
canning, 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.