The RHS & Dig for Victory campaign

Information sheet

The Royal Horticultural Society played a key role in informing the British general public how to Dig for Victory and grow their own food during World War 2.

  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): History, Social Studies


The RHS’s involvement in Dig for Victory

The RHS had been heavily involved with the production of food and the establishment of allotments during the First World War. At the advent of the Second World War the RHS was a member of the Allotments Co-ordinating Council and key members of RHS staff advised on the ‘Dig for Victory Campaign. This and previous involvement in the war effort meant the RHS was well placed to advise on domestic food production and vegetable cultivation.

Publications and educating the public

Several successful pamphlets and books were written by the RHS such as ‘The Vegetable Garden Displayed’ and ‘Simple Vegetable Cooking’- which contained amongst others a recipe for sprout puree.
The RHS developed the 'Dig for Victory' box, to help the nation grow fruit and vegetables. It consisted of photographs and exhibition boards housed in a wooden crate. The exhibition travelled from place to place using the railway.

RHS examinations

Evidence from the RHS records show that land army girls were based at RHS garden Wisley for a period during WW2 and that many studied for RHS qualifications to improve their horticultural knowledge whilst working the land.

                               

 

                                 

 

 

'Dwarf French Beans' display panel

This forms part of the 'Dig for Victory' exhibition box dating from September 1943. First developed in 1941, the Dig for Victory travelling exhibition packs were introduced by the RHS to teach the nation how to grow their own vegetables and supplement their ration-book diets during the Second World War.

The RHS played a crucial role in the Dig for Victory campaign to educate the public on food production while supplies were severely restricted by the loss of ships in The Battle of The Atlantic.

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