Dig for Victory | COVID 19 Edition
The ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was set up during WWII by the British Ministry of Agriculture. Men and women across the country were encouraged to grow their own food due to times of harsh rationing. Open spaces everywhere were transformed into allotments – even the lawns outside the Tower of London were turned into vegetable patches. The campaign aimed to ensure that people had enough to eat, and that morale was kept high.
Whilst Brexit takes a back seat for the immediate future an ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ document published in 2019 revealed that the government expected shortages of some fresh goods alongside potential prices rises that could hit “vulnerable groups” in the case of a no-deal and warnings there could be food shortages within a fortnight if trade into Dover was disrupted.
Given what is happening around the world right now (a greater public awareness of climate change, UN Sustainable Development Goals, life cycle assessment, food miles ) the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign seems, once again, rather relevant.
When it comes to gardening, I really cannot claim to be an expert. Those who are will know why the first carrot pulled from the ground last year looks like that! However, what I do know is the sense of relaxation, achievement and calm my entire family has found spending time in our garden in recent weeks, and for the last few seasons have enjoyed watching a variety of vegetables grow in our ‘patch’.
As a result of postponed workshop activity and a period of self isolation this week, I have had time to update a document published in 1941. The original is often described as the most important document in British gardening. Why the update, and why now?
Figures released by Nielsen, the market data provider, last week showed that shoppers bought an extra £1.9bn of groceries and personal goods in the four weeks ending March 21. The rise in panic buying has stretched retailer supply chains. Pictures of empty shelves at UK supermarkets continue to spark concern about food shortages.
The Coronavirus pandemic has awakened fear about the security and strength of the hugely complicated supply chains that modern societies depend on.
The retailers remain confident that shopping patterns will return to normal eventually, but as the current global situation continues to evolve, I find solace in being in control of something, however small. In this case, a steady supply of vegetables and salad into our family diet…
Now. Does anyone know anything about keeping chickens?
This poster, adapted from “Dig for Victory no. 1 New Series”, is regarded as one of the most influential documents ever in British gardening.Originally issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1941 and printed for H.M. Stationery Office by T.G. Porter (Printers) Ltd. Leeds.