Rose Hayden-Smith • thevictorygrower.com

World War 1

Connecting veterans to farming is part of our history

An historical note from the Victory Grower – also blogging as the UC Food Observer – on Veterans Day

Connecting veterans to farming and ranching dates back to the earliest days of the United States. In the pre-Revolutionary War era, veterans of the French and Indian War – which was the North American theater of the Seven Years’ War being fought in Europe – received land grants for their military service. Between 1775 and 1855, the United States government provided what were called “bounty-land warrants” for some types of military service. Bounty-land warrants (land grants) were used to encourage enlistment. They were also used to reward veterans for service during a seemingly endless series of wars and military actions (including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, etc.) The U.S. government ended these programs in 1855.

But the need to connect veterans and others to farming didn’t go away.

California’s Land Settlement Colonies

In the early 1930s, the New Deal provided a number of resettlement and subsistence homestead programs through the Resettlement Administration. But the model for these programs came even earlier. One model was created in 1917, when the state of California passed a Land Settlement Act that ultimately created two land resettlement colonies. The Act provided funds to purchase more than 6,000 acres near Chico, in Butte County, where the Durham colony was started in 1918. A second colony – Delhi – was started in Merced County in 1920.

The legislation and the programs it created were strongly influenced by University of California professor Elwood Mead. Mead chaired the Rural Institutions division at Berkeley, and later was the driving force behind some of the West’s largest water projects. Mead helped structure the programs based […]

AP History: A poem about immigration. And #victorygardens.

AP History: A poem about immigration. And #victorygardens.

Usually I write about gardens, food systems, and the like. If you read my work, or follow me on social media, you also know that I think gardens and food are patriotic. And political: our forks express our political beliefs. I nearly always write about history, because that is the primary discipline (and passion) that serves as the foundation for the rest of my work. You may have read my book, my blog and various things I post on Twitter. Or on Facebook. I also write poetry. Not well, but with great feeling, ever since I was a little child. Notebooks full. A heartfelt “thank you” to great teachers like Leticia Kelly, Judy Ryder Leer Paleologos and Sue Marshall for encouraging this.

Given the furor about the President’s Executive Order this week, I thought I’d share this with you. It’s a poem I wrote a couple of years ago for a dear colleague who became an American citizen. And the immigration and garden history thing: there’s a link. Because the Liberty/Victory Garden programs of World War I were also about creating common purpose among a highly diverse American population…close to one in five being immigrants at the time.

We can learn from that, can’t we?

 

AP History

a really long poem by Rose Hayden-Smith aka @victorygrower

Each July 4th we celebrate our Declaration of Independence
With fireworks and BBQ and parades.
(We seldom note that the Declaration was read in both English and German).

We forget that grand gesture was only the beginning of a process:
A long and bruising war with an imperial force,
Years of negotiation to create a constitution
That was simultaneously a new and holy thing and also a sinfully flawed thing.

My […]