{Guest Post} Author Rose Hayden-Smith on American Victory Gardens

Author Rose Hayden-Smith on the topic of America's Victory Garden rootsImage source

There’s a new book on the topic of Victory Gardens written by my good friend, scholar Rose Hayden-Smith (aka @victorygrower). Her first book, Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Garden Programs of World War I, was released this summer. [If you’re interested in purchasing it, you may find Sowing the Seeds via my Amazon Affiliate link here.*] I’ve read it via a review copy and found it to be just as comprehensive and engaging as I thought it would be, given Rose’s encyclopedic knowledge on the topic. If you’re curious about cultural history or gardening (or both), you’ll want to buy it. Now, I’ll turn this post over to Rose.

Like a lot of you, I collect gardening catalogs. To me, they represent life and productivity and the promise of family, good food and good health.

Yet I also study and write about Victory Gardens. Because Victory Gardens, like gardening catalogs, also provide a link to a simpler, agrarian past that I find comforting and restorative in these unsettling times.  In a world where food prices are skyrocketing, violence seems unchecked, compassion towards the less fortunate seems to have evaporated and economic misery abounds, I find gardens of all sorts a refuge of optimism.  We need fewer bad things in this world and more good gardens.

In hard times, Americans have always turned to gardening.  The Victory Gardens of World War I and World War II – and the garden efforts of the Great Depression – helped Americans weather hard times. These school, home and community gardens helped the family budget; improved dietary practices; reduced the food mile and saved fuel. They also enabled America to export more food to our allies; beautified communities; empowered every citizen to contribute to a national effort; and bridged social, ethnic, class and cultural differences during times when cooperation was vital. Gardens were an expression of solidarity, patriotism, and shared sacrifice. They were everywhere…schools, homes, workplaces, and throughout public spaces all over the nation. No effort was too small. Americans did their bit. And it mattered.

We were a nation of Victory Growers, and it had far-ranging implications in many aspects of American social, cultural and political life. And all of these things could be true again today. In many places, Victory Growers are at work, making these things come true. Continue reading “{Guest Post} Author Rose Hayden-Smith on American Victory Gardens”

{Guest Post} Author Rose Hayden-Smith on American Victory Gardens

Breaking News: “American Grown” by First Lady Michelle Obama Slated for May 29, 2012 Release

Per a conversation that I had with Crown Publishing via Twitter on Friday, Michelle Obama’s book, American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America will be released on May 29, 2102.

This is about a month later than earlier press reports had indicated. (See original press release.) You can preorder now.

Note that there is now a Facebook page for the book, which several RW&G FB fans are now following since I posted this:

Really looking forward to reading this book and watching the reception, which should be interesting.

Explore More:
• “American Grown” and it’s context of U.S. victory garden is explained here.

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Breaking News: “American Grown” by First Lady Michelle Obama Slated for May 29, 2012 Release