Don’t Blame Farmers for Daylight Saving Time!

BY Pam Helmich Stewart in Moberly, Missouri |  Farmer’s Almanac 

One of the great indicators of spring’s imminent arrival is the 1-hour leap forward for Daylight Saving Time. With it, the Sun seems to rise a bit later but evening’s twilight is pushed out, providing more waking hours to enjoy.

The earliest known suggestion of Daylight Saving Time comes from someone near and dear to our hearts—Benjamin Franklin. In 1784, Franklin wrote “An Economical Project” in which he proposed the idea in part to save on the expense of candles.

While Daylight Saving Time had its proponents over the next hundred or so years, it wasn’t adopted by any country until 1915. Germany was the first, viewing it as a way to save on fuel costs during World War I. Britain followed in 1916.

In the U.S., Daylight Saving Time made a brief appearance starting in 1918. While recognizing it as an energy conservation measure, many people were not happy with its adoption—some saw it as an attempt to force people to get up early!

Now is also a good time to dispel the widely held myth that Daylight Saving Time was the idea of farmers. No, farmers were not fans. In fact, they were among its strongest opponents, seeing it as a measure that favored office workers and not those who started their days early, toiling in the fields. Dairy farmers made their thoughts known on the matter and managed to get Congress to repeal Daylight Saving Time in 1920. Such was the case until World War II brought it back again as a way to conserve resources.

The practice has continued, more or less, since World War II, with some U.S. counties and states—like Arizona and Hawaii—choosing to abstain. There are fierce opponents to time change and, as of March 2020, there were 32 states to proposed bills to make Daylight Saving Time as the official time year-round. None of these can go forward, however, without a change in federal legislation, so—for now, at least—be ready to spring your clocks forward 1 hour on Sunday, March 14, at 2:00 a.m. local time!

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Daylight Saving Time, losing that extra hour of sleep can make a real impact! Good news: You can prepare with our 5 Tips to Help Your Body Adjust to the Time Change.

With more light in the evening hours, now’s a good time to get outside and work on the garden. As you plan for your spring garden, think about companion planting—the time-honored practice of growing certain vegetables and flowers together to best effect. Make it easy with these sample companion gardening plans.

Finally, Victory Gardens have gained in popularity over the past year. These home or community gardens first became popular during World War II as a way to grow extra produce for soldiers and tend farm crops that might have otherwise withered on the vine. By the end of the war, 2 million gardens were responsible for 40 percent of the produce consumed throughout the country!

Today, the turn toward Victory Gardens is for a different reason: They serve as a morale booster that builds self-sufficiency, especially during a time when so much has been out of individual control. Even as things begin to return to something resembling “normal,” many people are starting their own Victory Garden for front door access to delicious, nutritious food.

As sure as the Sun will rise and set each day, The Old Farmer’s Almanac is here for you, now and always.

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