The Keezletown Community Cannery, located in the Shenandoah Valley in a small town called Keezletown, began in 1942 in the basement of the Keezletown School. As World War II was raging and food and supplies at home were rationed, people began growing “victory gardens” as a concept to foster patriotism and community spirit. Many citizens grew their own food and used canneries around the country to can it and to assist in the war effort (canned food was necessary for shipment overseas) as well as to supplement their families own supplies (food stamps rationed what people could buy in the stores). Such canneries were often supported in part by school systems who used them for educational purposes as well.    

The Keezletown Community Cannery is the only true can-your-own, non-profit cannery remaining in Virginia and it is one of the oldest in the United States. It has not closed since the 1940’s. Interest in canning has waned over the years, however, and it is seen as a dying trade most commonly practiced by older generations and/or by church groups canning goods to sell for fundraising efforts.

Until recently, the Cannery was owned and supported by Rockingham County. Due to recent budget cuts, however, the County decided to discontinue its support, and the Cannery’s future was unknown. A local non-profit organization, the Horizons Learning Foundation (HLF), took up the reins in August of 2009 and is committed to preserving this important piece of area history. The non-profit, trading as the Keezletown Community Cannery, intends to keep the Cannery open and operating it as it has been since 1942, but with some changes and improvements as well. One of the goals for the Cannery is to create a classroom museum for school groups to visit and learn about the canning process. Another goal is to function as a means for other non-profits to make money for their organizations.

For more information please call (540) 896-7600


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