CBC Digital Archives

National Farm Radio Forum: Is rationing rational?

It was radio that got farmers talking. From 1941 to 1965, National Farm Radio Forum brought together groups of neighbours across rural Canada to listen to a weekly half-hour program on a single farm issue. Using accompanying printed study guides, the groups then discussed the broadcast and sent in a summary for follow-up on a subsequent show. Launched as an educational experiment by the CBC, along with the Canadian Association for Adult Education and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the show's motto was: "Read. Listen. Discuss. Act."

media clip
Elizabeth Brown has just one question: why are there food shortages in Canada during the war? Food production has gone up, but the Toronto housewife still finds that shopkeepers are rationing butter, meat, and even some vegetables. This week's National Farm Radio Forum has convened a panel to answer Mrs. Brown's question and explore how to get more farm labour when many able-bodied men are out fighting the war.
• The Wartime Prices and Trade Board began rationing sugar in Canada in January 1942. Coffee and tea followed in May, and butter joined the ration list that December due to serious shortages. Rationing of meat began in May 1943. 

• One solution for the shortage of farm workers was the use of German prisoners of war who were interned in Canada. See the CBC Digital Archives clip "Canada's posh PoW camps" for more. 

• More CBC Digital Archives clips on rationing and food shortages in Europe:
War effort spreads to butter
Homemaking during wartime
Post-war Europe
Medium: Radio
Program: National Farm Radio Forum
Broadcast Date: March 1, 1943
Guest(s): Elizabeth Brown, Stewart Page, J.B. Reynolds, Ralph Staples
Duration: 29:19
Photo: Canadian War Museum

Last updated: June 12, 2013

Page consulted on August 15, 2014

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