It seems strangely appropriate that on our Independence Day I write about a post about Britain at War. In this case it isn’t the Revolutionary War, but instead World War II.
I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoyed learning about the British home front in WWII. Leave it to the BBC to come up with yet another program that could have been written just for me. My eternal history major did a happy dance when I learned about Wartime Farm.
The primary participants live on a farm for a year replicating the conditions that existed from 1938-1945. It shows what British farmers faced trying to gear up food production as Germany was disrupting supplies coming in from the mainland.
Foyle’s War had touched on both rationing and the Farm Girls programs in passing, so I at least had some background for those two episodes of Wartime Farm.
What must have been particularly challenging for the farmers was the weight of knowing that Britain’s very survival depended on their success in the fields. A bad crop was no longer only a financial worry, but also could result in people dying.
The rationing discussion was the most insightful for me. I already knew that the rations got smaller as the war went on. What I didn’t know was that a lot of food items were never rationed. If you could find vegetables in the market, you could buy all you could afford.
I loved seeing how the women would organize groups to go look for forgotten or volunteer fruit trees to glean. All the fruit was gathered and brought to a central processing facility. There women volunteers would prep the fruit and can it so it could enter the food supply across the country. All of this was done for King and Country.
I highly recommend this series. It is available in its entirety (eight episodes) on YouTube. Here is the first episode to get you started.
Have you ever learned about Victory Gardens from someone who had one during WWII? or Was I the only one under the impression that all food was rationed?