Home learning a chance to ‘Dig for Victory’

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

We’ve been sharing home learning resources with all of the schools that signed up for our annual Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) project.

With VE day coming up, students have been reminded that potatoes played a vital role in feeding the nation during World War II. Our education team has set the following challenge:

Why not get pupils to create a poster, like the ones below, that could have been used during the war to encourage the public to 'grow their own', they could even display it as part of Friday's virtual celebrations

Before the war, Britain imported 55 million tonnes of food a year, once war began this dropped to 12 million tonnes and resulted in rationing of the food that was available. The 'Dig for Victory' campaign was launched to encourage people to grow their own potatoes and vegetables.

It was actually reported that the nation’s health was better in 1945 than in 1939: Eating more vegetables meant that the wartime diet was a healthy one. Price controls, and food advice from the Ministry of Food, also helped people to eat better than before.

Potato Pete became a well-known character, promoting the health benefits of potatoes and highlighting their versatility. Remind you of anyone?

Primary school children have been ‘digging for victory’ through our GYOP project since 2005 – with over 5 million children taking part in the scheme, since it started. National and regional prizes are awarded each year for the schools who get the biggest yields.

Since it started growers have supported the project by supplying seed potatoes to primary schools free of charge. This year, McCain Foods, a long time donator of seed, became principal sponsors of the project.

With schools closed at present, classes were encouraged to nominate a pupil or two to take the grow bags and seed home with them, or to get a school gardener or caretaker to look after the potatoes and keep children updated online.

While the Food - a fact of life classroom, which we run in partnership with the British Nutrition Foundation, has a Home learning hub, providing  new resources and activities to support parents/carers, teachers and students, from now until September 1st.   With six activities added this week to support teaching and learning about food and cooking during World War II to help celebrate VE day.

Fancy having a go at home with your kids? Share your VE day posters on the GYOP Facebook @potatoesforschools and Twitter @potatoes4school.

Visit our education pages View, order and download our agricultural education resources

Example WWII posters

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