September 5, 2012

Feeding a nation in a time of war

By Michael Johnson, Editor

London- In the year 1943, the young men in Europe were off fighting in World War II. The women at home were given the task of keeping the forces and those at home well fed. That meant going from homemaker to farmer. From 1943 to 1950, some 90,000 women worked long, back-breaking days to make sure no one starved. Even though many had to learn how to plow, plant and harvest the crops with no previous experience, they were successful in feeding their nation. That’s no small feat and certainly one worthy of recognition. In addition to the “land girls”, there was a group known as the “Lumber Jills” that cut trees and sawed wood for the need of the country, too. It took nearly 70 years before Barbara Romanick was finally honored for the work she performed in the Women’s Land Army. It may have happened sooner if love hadn’t pulled her from home to be with an American boy, John Romanick, from Wilton. She was just 17 when she started working for the land army in 1944. She was expected to do any kind of farm work. Being a Londoner, she knew little of what it took to farm. But like the others, she learned fast. “We’d be up on top of the stack and handing them wheat,” Romanick said of the wheat harvest. “We planted potatoes. Because somebody had to do it.”

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