This film is part of Free

Devonian Farm Life in Wartime Heanton

Wartime Farmers aim for self-sufficiency in North Devon's Heanton

Amateur film 1940 12 mins Silent

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Step back in time as our Heanton farmers gather the hay harvest. Shire horses plough the fields and prepare the ground for crop planting, mechanised and traditional methods are used to ensure yield. British farmers had to meet the demands of the Ministry of Food during the Second World War. Rationing became part of 1940s life and included farming communities. This film portrays farm life at a time when pressures to increase production were growing.

The Second World War had a vast impact on agriculture and production methods throughout Britain. The Ministry of Food was formed on 8 September 1939 and became the sole importer and buyer of food into Britain, guaranteeing farmers an increasing market for home-grown produce. The goal was self-sufficiency. Recruitment for the Women’s Land Army began in 1940 under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries with at its peak 80,000 members. Together with the Women’s Timber Corps they helped meet growing home demand not just for food but also oil, materials, metal and wood.