- Author: Rose Hayden-Smith
In 1994 or so, a wise 4-H Advisor named Dan Desmond started talking to me about using gardening as a youth and community development strategy. He provided research that supported some pretty awesome claims: that gardening could improve academic performance, positively affect nutrition, improve communities, increase civic engagement, etc., etc. I listened carefully and made some notes, because if you've met Dan, you know he's a brilliant, emminently sensible and persuasive guy.
Crank forward about fifteen years. Those conversations with Dan Desmond profoundly impacted my professional work and personal philosophies. Can conversations change your life? Yes, they can, and they do. In addition to staking my professional reputation on work increasingly centered around garden-based learning, I returned to school and began studying the history of gardening in America. What I learned there convinced me even more that every child, family and community in America ought to be in a garden TODAY.
For the next two years, I have the privilege of serving as a Food and Society Policy Fellow (FASP Fellow). To learn more about the program, visit http://www.foodandsocietyfellows.org/ Each FASP Fellow determines a primary goal that he/she wants to accomplish. My goal is to increase community-based food security by promoting policies that encourage school, home and community garden programs.
As you read this blog, you'll discover why I think this goal is so important right now. And being an historian, I won't be able to resist throwing in some history about why leading Americans (including some presidents) thought this was important even a hundred years ago. I promise, it won't be anything boring, and there won't be a test on the material, either.
As a companion to this blog, I've also developed a VictoryGrower website, which is located at http://www.foodandsocietyfellows.org/ It's still under construction, but check back often, as I add something new every day.
And remember..."A Garden for Everyone. Everyone in a Garden."