Plotting Our Path
The outbreak of the Second World War put an end to all the social events on the allotment grounds including the annual show in accordance with the black-out restrictions. The canteen continued to supply thirsty plot-holders with cups of tea until weekend bombing became a regular feature.
Bonfires were permitted but had to be completely extinguished well before dark.
The homes of the secretary, the treasurer and other members were damaged through the bombing and one member lost his life.
It was at this time that the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was launched to help combat food shortage in Britain by promoting the planting of allotments in gardens and on public land. Lord Woolton (Minister of Food 1940-1943) was responsible for selling the benefits of rationing to the British public and educating it into better eating habits. The campaign addressed issues that we are concerned about today - having access to fresh healthy food, being active and living sustainably. Those who were lucky enough to have an allotment already were off to a flying start, providing fruit and vegetables to supplement rationing which began on the 8th January 1940, four months after war started.
It was believed, quite rightly, that to ‘Grow Your Own’ would not only provide essential crops for families and neighbourhoods alike, but help the war effort by freeing up valuable space for war materials on the merchant shipping convoys. Indeed, over just a few months, Britain saw much of its green and pleasant land transformed with gardens, flowerbeds and parks dug up for the plantation of vegetables. The campaign was very successful as by 1943 over a million tons of vegetables were home produced. It was estimated that over 1,400,000 people had allotments during this time.