We Are At War!

DSCF0805The ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was started at the beginning of World war two, in Britain,

www.bealtainecottage.comThe people of Britain were urged to use any spare land to grow vegetables.

 www.bealtainecottage.comVictory gardens were planted everywhere…and I mean everywhere!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006All land was considered viable for planting, including gardens, lawns, parks, golf clubs and all public spaces even in the City of London, around the Tower of London, for example! 

www.bealtainecottage.com 004During the height of the war, when food was rationed through scarcity, there were 3.5 million allotments in Britain, producing over a million tonnes of vegetables and it was estimated that in 1944 British gardeners produced between 2 and 3 million tons of food overall!

www.bealtainecottage.com 034People were encouraged to keep small livestock and ‘Pig Clubs’ were formed as a way of best utilizing leftovers to feed the pigs.

Flo, with me holding GloriaHens and Ducks were kept for their valuable eggs.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 034The children growing up through this period of time were the healthiest ever reared in Britain.

apples and sunflowersMy mother was born and raised during this time and lived a remarkably long and healthy life!

Colette in one of the orchardsSo, now we are all in a state of financial hardship and unemployment, I have one simple question to pose.

harvestWhy cannot our governments introduce a similar campaign?

harvesting blackcurrantsWe are at war…with poverty!


  1. An excellent post! I wish I had your rainfall and lack of native animal “consumers” so that I could cover Serendipity Farm with permaculture food forests. I am slowly working my way towards figuring out how to fully enclose orchards and grow edibles (alas, also fully enclosed) on a penniless student hippies budget but I have ideas…ideas involving tyres and wine bottles! Never let it be said that you can keep a good permaculturalist down for long!

  2. We had many Victory Gardens in the US also during WWII….. and I think your idea to encourage it again is a great idea! … for economic reasons and health…! sue

  3. What a great post Colette. I agree with Calendula Sue, so many people don’t have the skills to plant and harvest food. My local co-op offers all kinds of classes for free on permaculture, starting seeds, worm culture and many more things. I feel hopeful because more and more people are doing permaculture raising chickens and doing things for themselves.Sharing information is the key. Your blog has reached and changed so many people. We have to carry on with the message.

  4. Polly Perkins is absolutely right. Ever since the Enclosure Acts here in England, when the common lands on which poor people were legally allowed to keep a pig, or a cow, and hens, and gather wood, were expropriated by wealthy land-owners and fenced off, the resources needed for basic survival – food, shelter, fuel – have also been systematically expropriated by the capitalists, who now have too much control over these essentials.

    “The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all… The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators and for the exploiters of labour. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands – the ownership and control of their livelihood – are set at nought, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.”
    Helen Keller, 1911.

    We must realise that we do not have to co-operate with this stranglehold of our resources. Dig up that lawn!

  5. All councils should come on board, the waiting lists for allotments is in some areas is ridiculous I joined a group locally to try and get more local growing areas but the council were not interested! I hope this will change because the price of food is only going to keep rising. One question the apple tree in the pictures has a lovely looking apple on it, I am trying to track one down, I was given a bag of apples by a friend who got them gifted but couldn’t use them all. They were the most tastiest I have ever had, he didn’t know the variety so he couldn’t tell me but they looked just like yours bright red/pink a touch of green. Oh and the small of these apples just about scented the whole house, a gift from heaven surely! If you could let me know the name I might just have struck gold.

    • The name Katy or Katje springs to the memory…if that’s any help! As for the councils…keep up the pressure, attend meetings, surgeries and write letters to the local paper!
      Blessings X

  6. What a complex question. The politicians are not grounded enough to see what is happening. Unfortunately they are more concerned with their own ego’s, which is why so many of them like to go to war, in the hope of walking in Churchill’s footsteps, and believe you me, I was never a fan of Churchill.
    My belief is that the last thing governments want is for people to have any degree of self-sufficiency. They are interested in one thing only and that is taxation. They are keen on education because it turns us all into work slaves paying our taxes, and so the ideal family for them will be reasonably educated, thereby indoctrinated and ambitious in the workplace. This family strives for as big a house as the millstone of a mortgage will allow, all the better to make you work hard and pay all those taxes, and keep buying and consuming. They are encouraged to buy new cars, which will never claw back the CO2 emissions, compared to running their old car. Even if you buy a new eco car, the emissions caused in it’s manufacture will take seven years to average out compared to say an old gas guzzler. I realize that at some point the old car will wear out.

    I’m afraid that governments don’t like the idea of people growing their own and being frugal with their resources. I remember an MP saying that they didn’t think that grandparents were the best people to look after their grandchildren while the parents were working. Of course what they meant was the grandparents were probably doing it for free and therefore the government was missing out on taxes paid by childminders.

    If only people could see how they are being manipulated. Rant over.

    • More and more are seeing, awakening and taking issue over these wrongdoings of government…keep on expecting and demanding leadership and in the meantime, be your own guide!
      Blessings X

  7. Simple answer, Colette, we have the same situation in my country, France. Those who gravitate around government and those living in Paris have no idea that they will ever miss on anything. They have enough money for that and they have lost touch with Nature.

    • I write this post at a time when the UK government are considering doing away with the local government act that allows for allotments…for many the only land they will ever have to grow food on!

      • All part of the plan isn’t it? Where I live, we have had several attempts over the years to get out local council to provide allotments. Even though the law obliged them to do so, they always evaded the issue.

  8. Wonderful idea, I just disagree with one point..why do we need the government involved ? they have created the poverty. Its up to us the good people to do this and help everybody that we can x

    • I agree…and i encourage that too, but our governments are the elected Trustees of our Lands and we need to have high expectations of them at all times. We elect them to hold our hopes and dreams in trust for a better life and future!
      Blessings X

  9. There’s no chance this will be re-introduced because there’s no profit to be had from the poor feeding themselves.
    Sadly so many people have never learnt the skills to help themselves.

    • I am been advocating this for years Colette. I have an allotment in the centre of London and it took me years to get it. I agree with Calendula Sue the reason they don’t do encourage this is because there is no money in it. To produce your own food won’t feature on any economic graphs or GDPs. We need to protect the allotments because the Governments will try and sell them all for development if we let them.

Your comments are welcome!