Friday, June 15, 2012

Dig for Victory techniques return

poster for dig for victory showing a single foot on a spade
Throughout history one of the main reasons wars were lost was caused by lack of food.

Sieges were used throughout history as a means of depriving the state of food until a surrender had been reached.

In the years leading up to World War 2 Great Britain had imported seventy five percent of its food a year or about 55 million tonnes a year.

In September 1939 at the start of World  Second World the shipping that was importing this food supply was being attacked by enemy submarines.

These ships were also carrying war materials so the import of food was being lessened both by reduction of food supplies and the amount of space available on the cargo ships.

The solution was to start a campaign for growing your own food and thus reduce the need to rely on imports.

This also freed up space to deliver more parts and ammunition on the ships for war.

The ships moved in groups protected from the submarines by destroyers and the groups were known as convoys.

A movement was started and backed by the government called Dig for Victory 

seeds ad  pickling spice ad 

The campaign took off and with backing by the UK government a raft of leaflets short films about growing food and information was produced to encourage people to make better use of any available land to grow food.

Town Squares and church lands were turned over, council land and public were all being used.

Gardening tips were exchanged and the best ones became publicized through government leaflets.

Because food production was the aim of the programme some surprising techniques became common knowledge. 

Such as building raised beds for planting deep rooters and companion planting to reduce pests and disease.

Although the dig for victory campaign lasted until the end of World War 2 with increasing imports and lower cost foods the techniques fell out of fashion.

But now with food production techniques and the distances food is being exported from much of the dig for victory campaign are starting to be used again

dig for victory ww2

The Dig for victory campaign