Rose Hayden-Smith • thevictorygrower.com

Monthly Archives: October 2014

Uncle Sam Says “Garden”

Uncle Sam says “Garden”.
We need to listen to Uncle Sam.
An entire chapter of my book, “Sowing the Seeds of Victory” is dedicated to WWI poster art and propaganda. Chapter Four contains numerous poster images and a detailed analysis of each. One of my favorite images is this one – Uncle Sam Says Garden”  – produced by the USDA.
“Uncle Sam Says Garden” was a poster that was directed to a broader audience than some of the other gardening posters, which were directed to children. Produced in 1917, it shows Uncle Sam in the foreground, holding a hoe in one hand, and papers that read “City Gardens” and “Farm Gardens” in the other. These words are clearly meant to synthesize the interests of rural and urban Americans: gardening was a shared activity, a common national goal. A man and woman work in the garden shown, which is in the shape of the American flag. Some of the plants featured in the garden might appear to be stars upon the flag. The woman in the poster wears a long, red skirt and a white shirt; in her arm is something she has harvested from the garden.

A subtitle suggests that Americans might wish to garden in order to “cut food costs.” Those seeing the poster are urged to write to the USDA for a free bulletin on gardening, suggesting, “It’s food for thought.” The poster is framed by brown band, and the bottom right corner features a cluster of richly hued vegetables. Upon careful inspection, the background, featuring trees, actually bears a striking resemblance to leafy green vegetables and also to broccoli stems. The use of Uncle Sam in gardening posters was not as common as […]

Family + Food: Parents Visit College

Family + food: parents visit college. Like many families, ours has a particular food culture that defines it. Food anchors us, and connects us to one another. We use mealtimes as times to have important conversations (about what we’re eating and about life), to laugh, and to simply enjoy one another.

It is Parents Weekend at our daughter’s college, Willamette University. (Shout out to a superb college: another blog posting). It’s been a wonderful, joyous, interesting – and at times, puzzling – three days. We’ve (re)connected with her on a new footing. She has changed a great deal in eight weeks, and we are meeting her as an equal who has been living rather independently from us.

She is showing us her new community this weekend, we are meeting her friends, and getting a glimpse of the experiences and life she is creating for herself. It is a bit like standing on the deck of a rolling ship – in the best possible of ways – when the safe harbor and shore are behind you, and the horizon ahead is infinite and limitless. You are no longer the captain: that role has now been given over to your young adult, to the next generation, and you can only try to keep your footing and remain relevant in some way. (In our case, working the galley: food provisioning).

The first afternoon, we celebrated our reunion and tested new waters. We became reacquainted. Our daughter drove us through the gorgeous Willamette Valley to enjoy an afternoon snack at the Willamette Pie Company. We saved room for a patio dinner with our daughter and her roommate at Adam’s Rib in Salem. Another dinner was reserved for a new favorite, La […]

Victory Garden Talk: UCSB Area

A Victory Garden Talk. Interested in WWI? How the wartime garden movement of yesterday has helped shape and impact today’s food systems movement? Please plan on attending a free lecture sponsored by the Goleta Valley Historical Society at the amazing and historic Stow House in Goleta, near UCSB. Wednesday, October 15th, 5 p.m. Free, but reservations suggested. I’ll be discussing my book, “Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Gardening Programs of World War I.”

Signed books available for sale.

One of the things you’ll probably like the most about this talk is that I share oodles of images: mostly World War I posters. You can learn more about poster art and the use of propaganda in Chapter Four of my book.

Or just come to my talk.

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