Today I’m thinking about resiliency. It’s hot in California, fires are burning in my parched community, and newspaper headlines tell me the ice pack is melting faster than anticipated. We are living in times of great uncertainty, change and challenges.

100 years ago our nation and the world were also entering a period of great uncertainly and rapid change as World War 1 forever altered the political, cultural, social and even physical landscapes of nations across the globe.

I’ve written extensively about WWI, and the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, which created America’s Cooperative Extension Service (CE). CE – commonly called “Extension” or “Agricultural Extension” – has had enormous impacts on American agriculture and in American communities during the last 100 years. If you’ve ever participated in 4-H, worked with a Master Gardener, or been involved with agriculture, you’ve worked with CE. CE was just starting 100 years ago, but the organization helped Americans of all ages and stripes to produce and conserve more food on the home front during WWI, thus enabling the nation to ship more food abroad to our allies

One of the biggest challenges facing all of us right now is sustainability. The term means different things to different people, and is difficult to unpack and understand. I think a better way to frame this might be to consider “resiliency”, i.e., building capacity to respond and adapt to the myriad challenges facing us. To learn more about the thinking in Extension circles about sustainability/resiliency in relation to food, energy, air, water and land, please read this report, produced by the Western Rural Development Center. It’s truly excellent, you’ll learn a great deal, and it’s FREE.

Full disclosure: I wrote the thought piece on sustainable food systems, which appears on page 25. You’ll learn more about the important ways I think gardens contribute to sustainability and resiliency in my book, “Sowing the Seeds of Victory”. (It’s not free, but between now and Sunday, May 18th, McFarland is offering a 20% discount on my book if you use the coupon code SEEDS.

Buy one today: Every Victory Grower should have a copy! If you buy a copy, send me a photo of yourself with the book or Kindle edition, and I’ll post it on my Facebook page

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