This film is part of Free

Compost Heap

A talking cabbage plant will win you over in this Second World War cartoon trailer, which has a surprising charm.

Government sponsored film 1942 2 mins


This animated Ministry of Information cartoon (by Halas and Batchelor) features a talking cabbage plant who introduces ‘Mr Middleton’ (a depiction of the gardening expert and broadcaster Cecil Henry Middleton), who then provides commentary in his gently spoken style, encouraging the use of compost heaps to produce humus to feed vegetable plants. Accompanied by a lively soundtrack, cartoon figures are seen working inside a compost heap, the ‘Plant Canteen’, preparing, cooking and delivering food.

This trailer supported the highly successful ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign, which encouraged the public to grow their own food during a time of strict rationing. Open spaces were transformed into allotments, and lawns and flowerbeds were turned into vegetable gardens. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.