In 1939 over 60% of Britain’s food was imported, much of it from Canada and the USA, and once war was declared it became vital to increase domestic food production. Britain’s merchant ships – which were needed to transport vital war materials, weapons, munitions and troops – were constantly at risk of attack by German U-boats. Potatoes were relatively easy for people to grow themselves, and took up less space than wheat to grow commercially, so the public were encouraged to ‘Go easy with bread – eat potatoes instead’. The Ministry of Food’s Food Flashes series included a good few short films on this theme, including this one that is pure 1940s bossiness and brisk common sense!
Don’t forget, you can find out more about digging for victory at the forthcoming series of events: In the Company of Cooks. On 12 June Sophie Grigson and Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall will show you how to make the most of your own produce in an exclusive talk at Imperial War Museum London. Get your tickets now!