How the U.S. military procures food for soldiers has changed over the past hundred years.
In 2018, the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Subsistence program purchases the food. Here’s what the Defense Logistics Agency website says:
The Subsistence supply chain provides food support for the military all over the world. From individually packaged meals in a soldier’s ruck sack, to a ship’s galley and to full service dining facilities on military installations, Subsistence gets that food there.
We work with our industry partners around the globe to feed the newest troops in training and seasoned sailors at sea. And we take pride in ensuring our service members have a taste of home for the holidays, no matter where they’re deployed.
In 1918, World War I was raging, and I’m sure that much food for the soldiers was purchased from large companies; however, the army also purchased home-canned foods. Here are some excerpts from an article in the June, 1918 issue of Ladies Home Journal:
How Twelve Girls Fed a Camp of Soldiers
I have been asked to give an account of the work done by the Girls’ Canning and Evaporating Club of Harvard, Massachusetts in order to demonstrate what twelve patriotic girls between the ages of nine and seventeen can do. The club was organized in the spring of 1917, with a special aim in view – that of creating what one might call an emergency supply. President Wilson said, to the women of the country, that one of the most patriotic things they could do was to conserve a surplus amount of food that would be available in case of a general shortage.
In the case of towns around the army camps, the possibility of being called upon to help out with food for the soldiers in case of shortage made this idea of an emergency supply of added value.
Now, while amateur work is often excellent, there is always the element of chance in it, because the knowledge of the fundamental principles is apt to be superficial. It was decided to give the girls a thorough training that would be a solid groundwork. A paid demonstrator was engaged to instruct the class every Saturday.
Toward the end of the season the club was invited to send an exhibit to the big Eastern States Exhibition that was held at Springfield, Massachusetts, and had the great pleasure and encouragement of being awarded a medal. This added zest to the work being done by the club, and all hands redoubled their efforts as the day for the home exhibition, held at the Town Hall at Harvard, approached. The results of the work were 1,000 jars of canned food done in the club and 200 pounds of evaporated food.
When the day came, in spite of a drenching rain, the doors had hardly been opened when the whole club exhibit of canned and evaporated food was sold to Battery F, 303d Heavy Artillery, through Lieutenant Martindale, the Battery’s mess officer, who expressed a wish that there was double the amount to secure.
The next morning a large army truck was sent over from the camp, and we had the great joy and satisfaction of seeing it packed with the results of our labor.
Clara Endicott Sears