‘Salad Month’ was a big deal in 1965

Archival video shows salad parade, ‘Salad Bowl’ football game, and virtues of Manitoba vegetable production

The “Salad Queen” was a key fixture at many Salad Month events, including the parade.

A “Salad Bowl” football game, a horse race, a “Salad Queen” and a parade of vegetable-covered floats — just a few of the big events Manitoba held to promote its vegetable industry in 1965.

“In this province, the food business is big business,” says the 1965 video “The Salad Bowl.”

The promotional film, produced by the Manitoba Department of Agriculture and Conservation, was part of a showing of agriculture-related videos from the Archives of Manitoba on January 20. The film night was part of the province’s Safe at Home online events.

Held in July, Salad Month appears to have been a promotional campaign to boost sales of Manitoba-grown veggies.

The “Salad Committee,” composed of growers, processors, retailers and other industry folk, organized the month’s activities. There was a parade, a football game, horse race, and in-store vegetable promotions.

“And reigning over all the major events that mark this special month, the Salad Queen,” the voiceover says over footage of the parade. A young woman in a floral dress waves to the crowd from a wagon drawn by four horses.

Home economists at Brandon’s Provincial Exhibition showed women how to prepare new types of salads. They also broadcasted these tips via radio, TV and print news.

Home economists used TV, radio and print to promote new recipes for salads and other vegetable uses. photo: Video still frame

Canadian nutritionists of the day recommended a balanced diet of at least two vegetables daily and a helping of potatoes and, as the video voiceover says, leafy greens in a salad were best.

As the film describes it, Manitoba was a hub of vegetable production and processing in the 1960s.

Vegetable production had become increasingly mechanized — the video shows off machinery for planting and harvesting vegetables of various kinds. Farmers were perfecting the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

“Grower efficiency has become a byword in this industry,” the film says.

Mechanized vegetable planting in the 1960s. photo: Video still frame

Advances in production and processing, and Manitoba’s central location allowed the produce to be shipped all over the world. Manitoba was exporting potatoes to Europe and the Caribbean, onions to Europe and Japan, turnips to California and carrots across Canada.

The video series also includes a 1955 video promoting Manitoba agricultural capacity to industrial developers and a 1977 documentary about Don Falk, a young musician who is taking over the family farm. The films are available on the Manitoba Government YouTube channel.

About the author

Reporter

Geralyn Wichers

Geralyn Wichers grew up on a hobby farm near Anola, Manitoba, where her family raised cattle, pigs and chickens. Geralyn graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in 2019 and was previously a reporter for The Carillon in Steinbach. Geralyn is also a published author of science fiction and fantasy novels.

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