“A Garden for Everyone. Everyone in a Garden.”

sowing-the-seeds-bookI am Rose Hayden-Smith, aka, “The Victory Grower.”

I am an author. A U.S. historian. A food systems advocate.

By day, I am employed by the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. I am a fortunate person: I get paid to do the kind of work that means the most to me.

I write blogs, postings, journal articles, poetry, letters. Recently, I wrote a book. (You’ll definitely want to read it).  I apply my research work in community settings. Food is fundamental and vital to national security. Food is social, economic, environmental and political. We we all need to know how to produce, prepare, conserve and consume food, or at the least, how it is produced.

I am particularly passionate about the potential of gardens to transform the food system and the world. (The Victory Gardens of WWI and WWII are my inspiration). I help individuals, schools and community groups engage in gardening and food enterprises. I also believe that history provides wonderful examples that should inform public policy today. I advocate for those policies, but I mostly advocate that we ought to garden more. It’s a great way to increase community-based food security, teach youth how to produce food, improve nutrition, and encourage civic engagement. (There are many other reasons why I think gardening is a good national policy and practice, but you’ll have to buy my book to learn all about those).

This website provides information about my book, “Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Gardening Programs of World War I”, but it also provides a wealth of information about related topics, including school, home and community gardens (past and present); their role in sustainable food systems; public policy; woman’s history; higher education; politics; and visual culture. These may seem to be disparate topics, but they are in fact deeply intertwined.

My book is not simply about a moment in time; it’s about a movement, and also about the movement that’s occurring today. In it, you’ll discover the rich history of civic engagement in American culture through its wartime gardening efforts, and you’ll also learn about the significant challenges facing today’s food system, not only in America, but globally.

I hope that you’ll read my book and blog postings, follow and engage with me on social technologies, and invite me to speak or consult with your group or organization. You can find me on Twitter @victorygrower and on Facebook.

I promise – at various times –to comfort you, to inspire you, and perhaps, to persuade you to action or a different way of thinking. In turn, I promise to learn from you and to treat you as a co-creator of ideas and action towards a new narrative for food systems. Together, we can transform the food system and the world, one garden at a time.

 “A Garden for Everyone. Everyone in a Garden.”

Read on!