During the Depression, "Americans resorted to extraordinary shifts. In Kentucky miners ate wild greens, violet tops, forget-me-nots and ‘such weeds as cows eat’. In Pennsylvania they devoured roots and dandelions. Some of the unemployed availed themselves of scraps kindly donated by Princeton dining clubs. Others consumed leftovers from restaurants, as recommended by Secretary of War Patrick Hurley. In Kansas farmers burned wheat to keep warm – a bushel now fetched only around $0.30, as compared to $3 in 1920. Corn, too, was cheaper than coal; as it blazed in stoves all over the prairies the air turned thick with blue smoke and a smell rather like that of coffee roasting. In Washington State lumberjacks started forest fires to earn money fighting them. In Arkansas families lived in caves. When the Russians advertised for 6,000 skilled workers, more than 100,00 applied to go to the Soviet union. Nearly 30 states established systems of barter and in Washington State stores issued and accepted wooden currency. To prevent the school system from collapsing entirely, teachers were oftne boarded out with families in a rota basis. Students found every more ingenious methods to work their way through college – at Ohio State University two young men started a ‘dog laundry’, washing and coiffing the pets of the opulent."
- from The Dark Valley by Piers Brendon