Mrs. Homegrown here:
During WWI, Great Britain instituted The Women’s Land Army, a civilian corps created to replace male agricultural workers called into military service. These women were generally known as “Land Girls.” Yep, the rural version of Rosie the Riveter.
By WWII, both Australia and the U.S. had their own Women’s Land Armies, too.
It seems in some cases the women took on full-time waged agricultural work, and in other cases they formed temporary voluntary emergency relief teams, helping short-handed farmers at harvest time and the like.
The images, both photos and graphics from the period are fantastic:
U.K. women in working the plow, and workin’ some fine style, too.
Women volunteering in an Oregon hops field. They look so happy (and stripey)! Were they paid in beer?
We’d never heard about the WLA prior to today–which is astonishing and a little sad–and stranger still, of all sources, we have the louche Chap magazine to thank for this increase in knowledge. They ran a Land Girl fashion spread titled “Britches & Hoes,” saying,
“The recession has led to endless talk of austerity measures, making-do-and-mending and growing your own vegetables on an allotment. But the big question is, of course, what to wear while mulching the compost on your carrots.”
It’s good point. The Land Girls prove there’s no need to look like a slob out in the garden, trailing your already disreputable bathrobe through the mire–as Mrs. Homegrown is wont to do.
Instead, as The Chap (and historical record) suggests, we could adopt sassy belted sweaters, crisp trousers and sexy Wellingtons. The fellows at The Chap also make some savvy suggestions for planting, captioning this photo, “Come along Tiffany, these tobacco plants, juniper berries and truffles won’t plant themselves!”