Sir,—There are two prime needs if this war is to end in such a manner as that a permanent peace may be secured to Europe—one, munitions; two, food for the workers. The submarine menace is a very real one, and we ought to make use of every available means of home food production, lose no time, waste no precious days and weeks in paper schemes, allotment suggestions, and Departmental promises of help. That land at this crisis should be allowed to go out of cultivation is a crime. Not a single rood of land capable of growing potatoes or grain and root crops should be unused. Increase, if possible, should be the order of the day. Difficulties are great. Shortage of labour is acknowledged, but I still believe that if the patriotic feeling that pervades agricultural districts in France could breathe a little of its life into our own good Cumbrian farmer folk, and if all the farmers in every parish came together to consider the national disaster they can save us from if they will, means would be devised to obtain not only all the labour they need but sufficient labour to get on with the ploughing and sowing. If it were not for the help that neighbour farms give at “clipping” time our fellside flocks would each year have to go unshorn. Why not institute “boon plowings” in every district. Why not ask everyone who can to come to the land at such a critical time and give without wage what help he or she can. The matter of food shortage emboldens me to urge this.
(Carlisle Journal, 22 December 1916, p. 8)