Urban Food Production in Irish Cities during World War 1

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Title: Urban Food Production in Irish Cities during World War 1
Authors: Forrest, Mary
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/10293
Date: 1-Sep-2018
Online since: 2019-05-07T07:49:21Z
Abstract: In the early 20th century people in Ireland, particularly in urban areas, were dependent on imported food. Due to the First World War and an increasing threat posed by blockades at sea more ‘Home-grown food’ was required. The State and local voluntary organisations had already initiated programmes to promote small scale food production in cities in Ireland. In January 1917 the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction (DATI) and the Local Government Board (LGB) introduced schemes to promote food production in Ireland, one of which was the promotion of allotments. The provisions were acquisition of land, loans to purchase seed, supply of requisites, and instruction for allotment holders. These provisions were implemented by city authorities in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Waterford and Limerick. Those engaged in this small scale production were in casual labour, or employed as brewery workers, teachers, policemen, artisans, gardeners and other trades. Allotment holders formed local committees, which ran their allotment site and interacted with city authorities. Fixity of tenure was a main objective of their representative organisation, the Irish Plotholders’ Union which was formed in 1917. Potatoes and green vegetables such as onions, carrots and cabbage were cultivated. Contemporary horticulturists provided professional expertise and government officials and politicians attended events which acknowledged and supported the allotment movement. In 1917 an estimated 1875-2,000 ac (750-800 ha) valued at £150,000-£160,000 (€169,500-€180,800) were in cultivation and this figure rose to 2250 ac (910 ha) with a higher estimated value of £400,000 (€452,000) in 1918. Indirect benefits attributed to the allotments were improved health, manual exercise, a new pastime and social interaction. The sources for this research were documents from the DATI, contemporary reports in national and local newspapers and horticultural periodicals of the period.
Type of material: Conference Publication
Publisher: European Association for Urban History
Keywords: Food ProductionWorld War 1IrelandVegetablesAllotments
Other versions: https://eauh2018.ccmgs.it/
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: The 14th International Conference on Urban History (EAUH 2018), Rome, Italy, 29 August-1 September 2018
Appears in Collections:Agriculture and Food Science Research Collection

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