A First World War inspired allotment project run by the Oatridge Campus of Scotland’s Rural College will be going on display at this year’s Royal Highland Show.
allotment, which offers a fascinating glimpse of how people gardened a hundred
years ago – as part of the Dig for Victory campaign - will be a key part of the
Countryside Cottage demonstration area at the showground.
allotment project was originally funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2014 to
help to help students develop their horticultural skills by demonstrating some
of the varieties and gardening methods use during those turbulent times. All
the staples of the Scottish diet, so vital in 1914, are grown on the allotment
– including heritage varieties of potatoes, turnips, carrots, radishes, beans,
Brussel sprouts, and cabbages.
allotment will be used to underline the crucial role food production played
during the WW1 campaign. Information boards will highlight that in 1914 British
farmers were only producing 40% of what was being eaten in the country – with
the rest being imported from every corner of the British Empire. On the other
hand it was estimated that Germany was 90% self sufficient.
of the allotment will be part of a collaborative project which has the theme:
“Work and War Horses 1914 – 1918” which aims to highlight the impact of WW1 and
how this played its part in changing horse drawn agriculture forever.
students and staff from the Equine, Agricultural, and Horticultural departments
are all involved in the project.
Gilchrist, Horticulture Lecturer, said: “At Oatridge Campus our Horticultural
Certificate students grow a wide range of modern varieties of vegetables. As
part of their course work, this collaborative project with the Royal Highland
and Agricultural Society of Scotland provides our students with the opportunity
to learn more about the history of the vital food production during the First
offers the opportunity to compare the developments of a hundred years of plant
breeding and the improvements in vegetable growing techniques.”
horticultural staff and students have cultivated a wide range of over 50 food
crops grown during the period of conflict which will be replanted at the Royal
Highland Show ground. They have also devised a series of hand written slate
labels which tells the story of each variety. A range of horse drawn machinery
available at the time will be on display, while agricultural students assisted
with the constructed old-fashioned hayricks.
war years the government learned just how valuable farming in Britain was to
the nation’s survival – and by the end of the First World War 75% of what was
eaten was produced in this country. Incredibly some soldiers at the front line
actually gained weight due to the tremendous effort of supplying food to the
educational story boards will also emphasise the pre-war diet in the UK was
deficient in vital vitamins and minerals, which led to poor healing of wounds.
As a result a lot was learned about nutritional values and the vital food
groups we take for granted in today’s diet.
Allotment Project can be seen at the Countryside Cottage demonstration area at
the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston from Thursday 23 June to Sunday 26 June
Photo: Final planting of the SRUC Oatridge WW1 allotment is almost in place for this year’s Royal Highland Show.