Episode 16


Oct 27, 2020 | Transcripts

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Interview with Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith


Julie Laurin, Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith


Julie Laurin  00:17

Dr. Rose Hayden Smith, welcome to the podcast.


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  00:21

Thank you for having me.


Julie Laurin  00:23

It’s a real pleasure, you’re actually the first historian on the show. So I’m super excited about that. Up until now, I’ve mostly been interviewing scientists and artists, but I wanted to really get some historians on the show, especially to speak about topics that really fascinated me and I, and which I know will fascinate our audience. And you, you specialize, essentially, in the history of the United States. You are your historian. So you did a PhD in history, is that correct?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  00:55

Yeah, I, I did do a PhD in history. And I definitely specialize in US cultural history, particularly in the 20th century. I’m not a traditional historian. I, I have worked actually, as a in the food system, as sort of a practitioner for a number of decades. And can you use my historical work to inform what I’m doing there?


Julie Laurin  01:25

Right. And you also wrote a book, it is called sowing the seeds of victory American gardening programs of World War One. So would you say that you’re a specialist in victory gardens?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  01:37

Yeah, I would say that’s my little niche. Right. And, and it aligns with my interest in school, home and community gardens.


Julie Laurin  01:51

Okay, so let’s actually get right into Victory Gardens, what, what exactly are Victory Gardens.


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  01:57

Okay, so victory gardens were, they emerged as a model and a sort of umbrella for School, home community gardening during World War One, and World War Two. And so this was, you know, these were very large, iconic sort of home prep mobilization efforts. And it’s really interesting, because the United States actually modeled its Victory Garden program in World War One, on efforts that were being done in the UK, in Canada. And because, of course, those countries were combatants in World War One before the US entered, you know, the war. And there were a lot of reasons that governments were interested in citizens gardening. I mean, it wasn’t just one reason there were many reasons. I’m no more familiar with how it tracked in the United States. But you do have, I can’t recall his name right now. But you do have a very good Canadian historian who has done quite a lot of research about the Victory Garden movement in Canada in World War One. It’s interesting, because


Julie Laurin  03:22

I’ve mentioned to a lot of people that I was interviewing you. And everybody asked me to ask you, if it was modeled if the program in the United States was actually modeled after the women in the UK, who started the Guardian programs there?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  03:34

Well, it’s really interesting, because the United States as part of this sort of larger Homefront mobilization, the United States did, there was a movement called the woman’s land army. And that was absolutely modeled after movement, you know, in the UK. And I’ve got a couple of chapters about that, in my book that I’ve written, because, you know, in the EU, United States, you know, they were the women that were interested in this, we’re communicating very closely with women from the UK. And in fact, some of the leaders of the woman’s land movement in the United Kingdom, came and spoke at different women’s colleges in the United States. And, you know, the the effort was linked very strongly. In some places with suffrage.


Julie Laurin  04:33

Yeah, so this is what’s really fascinating now, from the US perspective, which is that, let’s say, well, let’s focus on World War One here, 1917 to 1919, where, essentially, the federal government did all a lot of the promotion for this, it was really it really came from the from the feds sentiment,


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  04:52

well, you know, yes, and no, I mean, I think really, that the idea As you know, there was a need, and definitely the government perceived a need. But really, these movements were championed by key individuals. And so they really representative, especially in World War One, a very strong public private sort of partnership. And so you had, again, for the Victory Garden movement, one of the champions in the United States was a private citizen, named Charles Lathrop Pac. And he was a wealthy philanthropist, he had very strong ideas about why this was needed, and why we needed to teach kids about gardening and food. And so he, you know, definitely led the effort, but it joined with the government. And then a lot of the promotional materials, obviously, you know, came from different government agencies and, and that whole thing about, you know, the arch in World War One and World War Two, you know, just iconic artwork. And again, much of that art was produced by artist, leading artists who donated their time to the war effort.


Julie Laurin  06:16

Yeah, this is what’s amazing. Let’s talk about the art for just a moment here, because in your book, you do have some beautiful examples of pretty much like wartime propaganda posters, but they’re, they’re really aimed at the growing of gardens. And like you said, they are just absolutely stunning. So who are some of the artists who, who helped to, you know, contribute to this?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  06:39

Well, I mean, too many to name, but one of my favorites, is a is a woman. And she produced a lot of the art for the school garden army program. And she was actually Frank Lloyd Wright’s sister. And so if you go and look at that, her name is maghull. Right, Barney, and she was a very well known children’s artist, and, you know, magazines were very big in the this sort of period, in, you know, our cultural life. And she would her work would have been very well known. I mean, it appeared in national magazines that were read by kids and adults. And so she donated her efforts and created a incredible series of posters. You know, you had a lot of artists who were producing for leading national magazines, like James Montgomery Flagg, who actually created the poster art that I use as an illustration on the front cover of my book.


Julie Laurin  08:10

Okay, so, so essentially, there’s a public private partnership, they have all this, this beautiful art going up, how long does it take for Americans to really adopt, you know, the whole planting of gardens thing?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  08:24

Oh, I think it happened, you know, the American experience in World War One was, was relatively contracted, compared, you know, to other countries. And so, I think that it happened pretty quickly. Right. And so, the US entered the war in April, and people were definitely, you know, putting in, you know, spring and summer gardens. And it was really promoted. And, you know, one thing that I should mention, too, is that the, the poster art was produced in multiple languages. It wasn’t just in English, because, you know, America was a very diverse nation with a large immigrant population. And so these posters, they were ubiquitous, I mean, they were in lots of places, you know, they would be in the windows of businesses, you know, people might put them in their front windows. So really important effort. And, you know, they were, in many ways, the mass media or a mass media format, World War One, because, you know, didn’t have television, radio, you know, kind of in its infancy. And what I find very interesting now is that, I look at this gardening movement right now. That’s Being sped along and and just you know, appearing on all these social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. And so I think that they’re really kind of analogous.


Julie Laurin  10:14

So you’ve got these amazing propaganda posters, they’re they’re pinned up on shops, people are participating in the programs. You do mention in your book that there’s a really youth education was a big deal. So they started teaching gardening in schools. Is that what happened?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  10:31

Yeah, so it’s really interesting. School gardening was a really big deal at the turn of the last century, and, as was agricultural education for kids. And so there was a lot of interest in this already, you know, before the outset to the war. So the United States movement included a program called the United States school garden army. And the curriculum was delivered through the Federal Bureau of education. And the curriculum was geared to different growing seasons in different parts of the United States. And it targeted urban and suburban youth, really an interesting program. And Woodrow Wilson, you know, the president felt that it was so essential that he made the initial funding for the program available from War Department funds. And I think that holds a lot of lessons for us in terms of this view, of teaching kids about food production, as being so essential to national security, that you would actually fund a program with military funding. And I think again, it always really gives me pause about these World War One and World War two programs, how they they framed them very squarely within sort of a national security need in World War Two. It basically becomes something the federal government calls nutritional defense. So it’s it’s very, the school garden program, one of the most interesting Homefront mobilizations of World War One.


Julie Laurin  12:40

Yeah, this is something that absolutely astounded me was reading about Woodrow Wilson and that the money the programs are funded by the National Security and Defense Fund, that I found absolutely mind blowing, it’s not something that I would ever think would happen today, I would hope. But at the same time, you know, I wonder, I wonder, I wonder at what point after World War Two, did it become disconnected with national national security?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  13:09

Well, I think that there were, you know, the world war one and World War Two Victory Garden programs are very different, in my mind, the world war one program, much more grassroots. And World War Two, you know, we’ve gone through in our country, this great, you know, depression part of a worldwide depression. But we had something called, you know, which I know, you’ve heard the New Deal, right.



And that,


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  13:38

that that basically changed our food system in World War One, there was actually a concern about, about the security of the food system, and the demands on the food system, because we didn’t have a national highway system that didn’t actually come until post World War Two, when Eisenhower was President, so we didn’t have a national highway system. Our railroad system was okay. But you know, we were mobilizing millions of troops and sending them abroad. And there was actual concern about food security. And and if if there was a disruption in the food supply and all these demands, would it lead to civil unrest, right, on the homefront, because you also have to remember that in America, at you know, sort of in the world war one era, there was a lot of tension, you know, Americans weren’t 100% supportive of going to war. And there were, there were racial tensions. There were tensions between urban and rural, that were significant. There were Are women pressing for suffrage? There were, there were labor movements, there was a lot of violence around labor. I mean, it was a very unsettled period in World War One. And then there was also a pandemic. So when I think of things I, today, I feel like today is closer to World War One sort of on, you know, the American Homefront than World War Two. I think, again, what happened after World War Two, is you have a new deal that’s remade the food system in American life. You’ve gone through this world war, and for many Americans, not all Americans. But for many Americans, the post World War Two period represents a period of, of economic prosperity, you have the growth of the suburbs, you have people going across the nation to you know, relocate for, you know, do defense work in places like Southern California, right. And, and the food system has really changed. And I also think, too, there’s been a shift from that was really sped by the massive mobilization of troops during World War Two, that you’ve gone from sort of a regional cuisine to a national cuisine. So a lot of changes post World War Two, and with the rise of the suburbs, I always like to share with people a sort of anecdotal experience from my family, which is that my father was a child in World War Two. And his family moved away from their home to a military field in Texas. It was a very disruptive period, they had a Victory Garden, he always remembered that, that play, they had a Victory Garden, and, you know, then and he knew how to garden as a kid. But after, you know, he was in the Korean, you know, a Korean era veteran. And then he went, you know, because the the war created this GI Bill, right, the US created a GI Bill. So a lot of Americans post World War Two. And in the Korean War era got, we’re able to access higher education through the GI Bill. So my dad ends up in a suburb of Philadelphia, and the vegetable garden is hidden in the backyard. And His focus is on sort of ornamentals and lawns. Right. So I think that there was that kind of cultural shift as well.


Julie Laurin  17:54

Yeah, I actually didn’t even think about how the addition of highways would change things is the addition the the way that people can mobilize all of a sudden,


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  18:03

well, and and also changing how we eat. Right. And so that national highway system in the United States, again, Dwight Eisenhower, was the one who, you know, signed that legislation. And, you know, Dwight Eisenhower had been a young military officer in World War One. And he had led a convoy across the United States to test road readiness. And that experience really impacted him. And so this national highway system in the United States, it enables strawberries that are grown two miles from my home, in, you know, the winter in February, to be, you know, end up in Washington, DC. And, you know, eaten there, and so it really has enabled the, the food system to be sort of more distributed.


Julie Laurin  19:06

Yeah, one of the things that’s happening actually, in the information technology industry, it became a Twitter hashtag at one point is that a lot of people are leaving their jobs in technology and going back to farming, like they actually want to become farmers. So I find that really interesting, because it means that right now, there’s, I mean, we’re going to talk about right now soon. But I want to focus on this because it means that, like you said, the food has been nationalized, internationalized. I think people want a sense of meaning much in the same way that people back then felt a sense of duty, perhaps to their country.


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  19:42

Yeah. And I have to tell you, during this pandemic, I think in terms of you know, in the early days, we definitely had some disruptions, right. We weren’t, you know, people, you know, the, the big meme was toilet paper, right? But I think one of the bright spots in this pandemic has been local and regional food systems, right? I mean, my CSA has come through. And when I’ve chatted with people at the CSA, they say they have many more customers. So I think that there is going to be a refocusing on the potential of local and regional food systems. So one of the things, of course, that I study is I study the history of gardening movements in general in America. And, you know, we’ve had periods where we’ve had lots of interest in school, home community, and even workplace gardens, obviously, World War One, World War Two, but we also had a sort of surge of interest in the 60s and 70s, as part of the environmental impact to land movement in this country. And then also, we had, particularly in the state where I left California, there was a big resurgence of interest in school gardens, in the late 1990s, through the 2000s. And then, of course, the Obamas, put into White House garden, which was the first time since World War Two, that there had been a vegetable garden, on the White House grounds, right. And during just a couple of months after the Obamas, put the White House garden in there, the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA, built something called the people’s garden, which is an organic garden. That’s right on the National Mall, in Washington, DC. And I, so there was a lot of interest. What I’m seeing now is really, in many ways, dwarfing at, right, I see evidence of interest in gardening everywhere from seed companies selling out to the sort of, you know, apps like next door, or community groups on Facebook, with people looking for that stuff. And one of the things that I’ve thought about a lot recently, is that when the Obamas, put in this garden at the White House, you know, Facebook was still a pretty young platform, and there wasn’t Instagram. I mean, Instagram wasn’t even a platform. And now again, I think that a lot of this interest in garden gardening is being amplified by social media platforms. And I actually think that it’s going to be elastic movement.


Julie Laurin  22:54

I think so to actually, now that you mentioned it, I’m seeing a lot of people not just gardening, but cooking with what they’ve what they planted.


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  23:02

Absolutely, absolutely. And I think that, you know, another sort of pandemic artifact, is the, you know, breadmaking. Right. Right. Food, I mean, how about sourdough on Instagram, right, in the earlier days of the pandemic, not being able to get yeast? You know, I, I get a lot of my baking stuff from King Arthur. And I mean, they were out of certain kinds of flour and yeast, you know, for a long time. And I think people are also doing more sort of food preservation. And you’re right, a lot more cooking at home sort of at, you know, out of necessity. But I, I do have lots of questions about are we you know, how can we sustain this? Will we, you know, will we be able to sustain this? Are, would there be other ways that we could sort of press the advantage that we have right now with the interest in gardening, to really create more sort of public policies that would support School, home and community gardens? I mean, what’s the next step? What, how many new farmers might come out of this? Right, I have a lot of questions. I’m interested to see what happens next.


Julie Laurin  24:30

Me To me, it’s one of the reasons why I really wanted you on the show is because it’s something that has been interesting me as well. My partner and I are going to move to the east coast, we’re going to, you know, create our own farm because we live, you know, in the downtown of Ottawa. And which brings me to my next topic, which is, you know, there’s a quote that you have in your book. It says a hungry hungry man is not a free man. And there are a lot of hungry people in the cities in In the United States who don’t have access to good food, they’re eating at 711. That’s where they get their groceries. What’s a good way to take our lessons from World War One, World War Two, and maybe incorporate that into the cities?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  25:15

Well, I and it’s it’s not just the cities, right. And I think one of the one of the things in my own country that I’ve been incredibly concerned about is, you know, the rising rate of hunger and issues with food access, and how during the pandemic, how we feed kids, who typically some kids that you know, get a couple meals a day at school, and how that’s happened. And, you know, school districts have done her broich job, but they’ve been very creative, in terms of setting up places in the community, or, you know, there have been some districts that have basically used bus drivers to deliver school meals to kids. I mean, school districts have been heroic, the nutrition staffs absolutely heroic. But, you know, my whole thing is like, why are we in such an issue about food access, and food security anyway, and one of the things that I feel very strongly about is that access to land is a privilege. And not everyone has access to land. And that, to me, one of the best things about the world war one and World War Two gardening programs, was the sort of shift in ethos about private land, and also the use of public land, right, that you would see in the United States that there were gardens on the National Mall. And there were easements like utility and railroad easements, made available to people. And so I feel really strongly that we need to, especially in cities, but in other places, we need to reconceptualize how we use public land. And for me, I always think of going back to sort of like the commons, right? And, you know, Boston Common in World War One, the Girl Scouts cultivated potatoes, right? That how do we make land accessible, and not just land? But how do we get resources and technical assistance for people in communities, so that we can realize the potential of school home community gardens, to help communities increase their food security, increase their resilience, you know, also as a way of considering how we need to adapt as individuals and communities and nations and a global community to climate change. So I think fundamentally, we need to be much more radical in terms of how we approach





Julie Laurin  28:28

Yeah, it’s interesting that you mentioned land. One of the things that I had been considering if I wasn’t going to move somewhere where I could have access to land was the, the hydroponic indoor gardening systems are becoming much, much cheaper these days, which I see as a good sign. Is that something that you’re seeing at the forefront of kind of this garden gardening movement? Are you still mostly primarily concerned with the lack of access to land?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  28:56

Well, I mean, I think that that is a really good option. And I’ve seen some really interesting hydroponic operations. But I do also think that we, we need to have a lot of different strategies. So that could be one part of the response and one part of the strategy. But I do think that we need to really look at communities as food shed, we need to be, you know, these Food Policy Council. I mean, your country has Wayne Roberts, right. You know, who I know, and I just am a huge fan of Wayne’s work, you know, Food Policy councils, we need more of that. And I think that we should be doing more to sort of map food shed because we definitely have the technologies. And there are a lot of those kinds of projects going on right now. But I just think a lot of this for me is really at the neighborhood and community level.


Julie Laurin  30:02

And it really sometimes takes just one person I want to, I want to specific, specifically bring up Jane bone. Haynes, I think is how you pronounce her name. She was mentioned in your book, she was quite the quite the courageous woman wasn’t she?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  30:16

She was. And I’m really glad that you brought her up. I mean, she’s a really interesting historical figure. And she was involved as, as you know, because you’ve looked at the book with creating a woman’s horticultural school in Pennsylvania, called the Pennsylvania School of horticulture for women in Ambler, Pennsylvania. And it was interesting because I, I lived in that area as a kid. And so she really had an impact. And that quarter cultural school for women really had an impact in terms of training women to work in small scale agricultural operations. And you know, this was prior to World War One. And then many of these women went and worked in the woman’s land army, you know, during World War One. And it was really a incredible sort of network of Sisters of the soil that they formed. And it’s really interesting because one of the leading schools of sort of horticultural education in the United States is at Temple University, and its Ambler is the is the school. And that actually, what the work that changed is that school was eventually merged with Temple University, you know, it went under the wing of of Temple and just a fantastic history there.


Julie Laurin  32:08

It’s funny sisters in the soil sounds like the kind of Facebook group that you’d need to actually make this movement go.


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  32:15

Yeah, yeah. I think so. And, you know, there are, there’s so much interesting work. You know, female farmers, I love looking at that, that work right now. And there’s a really interesting podcast and a project called in her boots. That is, I think it’s under Moses, which is the Midwest, organic sort of organization in the United States.


Julie Laurin  32:50

Okay, yeah, I’m gonna check that out. Because I’m very curious about it. So you’re really I mean, you’re really pushing for this to take off? I mean, it is there is a momentum, I definitely feel it. I felt it since the pandemic began, like you said, with the bread with, you know, flour not being available, people cooking, baking, realizing they’re not very good at it, but persisting with it. How do you think that we can keep the momentum going?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  33:18

Well, I, I think that there are a lot of things we can do. So in the United States, we have something called the Cooperative Extension. And it’s basically a national service that’s run under land grant universities. And it’s a partnership between the federal government, the USDA, the land grant university, in every state, and local government, county government. And so we’re under the Cooperative Extension Service. We have, you know, we provide technical assistance for farmers, there is the four H Youth Development Program. And there’s also a program called the Master Gardener program. And it’s basically these incredibly, highly trained volunteers. And they are available in every I think, you know, most counties in the United States. And it strikes me that if you could, you know, make that more well known to the public. In some communities, it’s very well known. These are people that, you know, have the ability to provide technical advice and assistance, and it connects with the land grant. But I think it’s a whole suite of things. I think that there have to be some public policies, in communities developed around land, around food shed mapping around school nutrition policies that might make it easier to incorporate Like school food from school gardens into school lunch programs, I think, you know, even having some sort of I mean, I’d love to see in the United States, and everywhere, actually some sort of national educational curriculum that teaches youth about food, and agriculture and climate change and environment, and human nutrition. And maybe also provides practical skills. I mean, when I was growing up, I was sort of at the cusp of were maybe the sort of first group of young women in my high school, who didn’t all take home economics, right? I didn’t take home economics. My sister is six years older, she went through the home economics programs, there was actually a program called f h, a future homemakers of America, in our public school, and it was like a local chapter of that. And so I think giving people practical skills, practical support is really important. I think it’s a whole suite of policies.


Julie Laurin  36:18

It’s funny, you you brought up the whole Mac programs, because there’s been talk, talk about bringing those back in the schools here in, at least in Ontario, not sure about the rest of Canada. But that’s definitely been on the radar. So that’s a good thing. I am curious about the United States, though, because you guys are in an election cycle, you’ve got an enact an election coming up. And I’m curious if any of the candidates have been talking about food security or agriculture, is that on anybody’s radar?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  36:47

Oh, I mean, they have? I mean, there are platforms for it. Right. I, I think that it’s, you know, it’s not, you know, we’ve only had one presidential debate. I don’t, I don’t know that we’ll have any more. Right. Given that President Trump has been diagnosed with COVID. I don’t know that we’ll have another presidential debate. They didn’t even get to that they didn’t even get in my opinion, enough. You know, on climate change. We do have a vice presidential debate scheduled for this next week. And I am hoping that there might be an opportunity to discuss, you know, things like climate change and food policy. I’m not expecting that they’re going to get to food and ag policy, which is really a shame, because it’s such a critical issue. But I think that, you know, we are I it’s we are in a challenging situation right now in the United States.


Julie Laurin  37:53

Have you seen any talk about it at this at the state level? You’re in California, so I’m wondering,


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  37:59

oh, yeah. I mean, I I think that, you know, California tends to have more progressive public policies. And I, I think, in many ways, we we sometimes model progressivism, and policies and lead, and then others would join I, I still think we’re not talking enough about it. But I do have to tell you that as part of the pandemic response, Gavin Newsome administration in California, came up with a couple of programs that were kind of interesting, where they connected, you know, small businesses that were like restaurants and communities, with senior citizen feeding, right to sort of help restaurants, maybe stay in business, during the pandemic, and, you know, feed senior citizens. So I think that there have been, you know, some creative, you know, things like that. I’m, I’m waiting to see what happens, you know, 30 days from now, when we’ve had an election.


Julie Laurin  39:12

Yeah. And that this, hopefully, this episode will actually air right before the election. So I mean, I think it’ll put this topic on people’s radar, at least I hope that that’s, that’s the intention. It’s really to kind of educate the American people, and also people around the world. I think, you know, if you live in France, and you’ve always wondered about gardening, I think this might, you know, help prompt new ideas.


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  39:35

And I do have to tell you, too, I would be remiss in not saying that, there is this faith communities in the United States are also doing some really good work in terms of gardening and agriculture. Always but in this period, As well, and I mean, they are, you know, there’s the Episcopal Church in the United States has a new effort called good news gardens, and they are, you know, helping congregations figure out how they might do gardens to serve their communities. And I think it’s really interesting. This interest in gardening is really widespread.


Julie Laurin  40:29

Yeah, it’s really beautiful. Do you do you feel optimistic about the future of gardening?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  40:35

You know, I, I do I really do I again, I feel that there that there’s more potential. And, you know, I, I think it’s a it’s a pretty diverse umbrella, right? I mean, I’m having people now, you know, that come to me, they they call them Victory Gardens, or they call them pandemic gardens. I spoke with a group affiliated with Rutgers University. And their program is, is calling them climate gardens, right. I mean, there are so many reasons for people to be gardening. I mean, it’s not only about food production, it’s about education, like science and STEM education. I mean, the potential for the educative possibilities of gardening of gardens are unlimited, right? You know, people wanting to you know, learn more about climate change and gardening, people doing it, you know, I, I garden in no small part because it It helps my mental health, it improves my Outlook, I, you know, I live in a county, that’s one of the leading producers of fruits and vegetables in the United States. And we we grow fruits and vegetables year round here, and it’s really easy for me to, to get it, you know, nearly any fruit and vegetable that I want, pretty readily through a CSA or a farmers market. But, you know, we continue to garden, because it’s important.


Julie Laurin  42:17

I got two last questions for you. Number one, if somebody wants to start gardening, but has no idea with where to start, what would you recommend as a good starter vegetable?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  42:29

Well, I think it depends on where you live. But one of the things that I, you know, always share with people, and you know, if they’re gardening with kids, carrots propagate quickly. They, they, they germinate quickly. So carrots, obviously, I think, you know, squash, but again, it really depends on where you live. And there are so many online resources available for gardening. If you’re gardening with kids, one of my favorite resources is the Texas A and M University, Junior Master Gardener program. They have a wonderful Facebook page. They have been doing all these incredible interactive activities for kids throughout the pandemic, the page is loaded with videos, that would be a resource. If you’re in the United States, go to your Master Gardener Program website, find the Master Gardener program in your community, and you will have a wealth of information about gardening in your specific growing zone.


Julie Laurin  43:51

That’s fantastic. Thank you so much for that. And the last question is in your book you touch on the topic of social memory. So I was just really curious, I needed to know what’s your favorite memory in a garden?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  44:04

You know, I’ve spent so much of my career in gardens. I have a couple of favorite memories. One of my favorite memories of gardening is I volunteered to lead a school garden program at my daughter’s Elementary School, which is about two blocks from our home. And I did that from the time she was kindergarten through the end of her fifth grade year. And then I I was joined in that effort by my elderly neighbor, Vance ask you who was also a University of California master gardener. And he had been he was a retired naval pilot. And he was just a fantastic gardener and he he lived right around the block from us, and so, every, every week, you know, literally, for that many years, Vance would swing by my house in his beat up pickup. And I would hop in, and we would go and garden with kids and the opportunity to see that sort of knowledge transfer from this really wonderful, knowledgeable, older man. And it wasn’t just a gardening, it was live stories with these kids, and to watch these kids, basically, because it you know, it is a very small school, and most of the kids, most of the kids were there, from kindergarten through fifth grade. And so we saw the same kids over the years, and to watch their growth as students and you know, growing into wonderful young people, and then to still have them now. And the group that I tracked with for all those years there now 2425, when I meet them in the community, or I connect with them on social media, to tell me how meaningful that activity was for them, and how it really did influence healthy behaviors, but mostly it mattered. And so that is definitely I think it’s it’s hundreds of memories, within that sort of larger memory. One of my other best memories was going to the White House garden, and with a small group of people and getting a really special tour of the White House garden. And I, that was a day, we went there. And then later that year, I went to the USDA garden, and those were two days when I was so proud of my country. I just went I love my country. This is so wonderful.


Julie Laurin  47:21

It’s fascinating, because I actually just started watching the West Wing for the first time. I am absolutely fascinated, right? Because I mean, of course, it’s fiction, but I’m suddenly very, very interested in so I’m also very, very jealous that you got to go to the White House garden. And


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  47:37

it was a wonderful experience. It’s really, it’s really a wonderful garden.


Julie Laurin  47:43

Yeah, I bet. So listen, Dr. Rose, Hayden Smith, I’m blessed, essentially, to have had you on the podcast. I think it’s fantastic. I wrote a little note, after I read your book, I said that your book felt like a plea to bring food production and food security back to the forefront of US politics and public policy. I hope that that happens. I hope that people go out and either borrow the book from the library, or if they can afford it, go ahead and buy the book. And do you have a website that you’d like to share?


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  48:15

I do. My website is rows, Hayden smith.com and the rows Hayden Smith is all run together. And I, I put blog post up there. And I also have some good I link to other resources. And I also have a little gallery where I put up some posters and, and give a little education about that. And I encourage people also to find me on social media. I’m on Twitter, I’m on Facebook. Yeah. And I always love to talk to people about this. And thank you for having me today. Apologize for the really noisy environment.


Julie Laurin  49:04

That’s okay, well, we’ll try to cut out as much as we can. Anyway, Dr. Rose Hayden Smith, thanks. Thanks again for coming to the program.


Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith  49:09

Hey, you take good care.


Julie Laurin  49:11

Thanks, you too.

Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith’s website: https://rosehaydensmith.com/

Buy the book! https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/sowing-the-seeds-of-victory/

Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith on Twitter: https://twitter.com/victorygrower

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