UC expert shares history of urban ag

Nov 22, 2010

A Los Angeles Times reporter zeroed in on remarks made by the director of UC Cooperative Extension in Ventura County, Rose Hayden-Smith, at a conference marking the opening of a new urban garden in San Marino.

Hayden-Smith, a history expert, was quoted in the second paragraph of the story and her name was mentioned five times as a source of historical information about growing food in urban spaces.

It's a present-day craze, but Hayden-Smith said it is not new.

  • Ancient Romans tended rooftop gardens
  • Early Americans grew food in Boston Common
  • Vacant urban areas have been used as gardens for more than a century

"We're just going back and claiming our heritage," Hayden-Smith was quoted.

She encourages the resurrection of the U.S. "Victory Garden" movement to alleviate social problems like food insecurity and obesity. Recently, she said, military leaders expressed concern about the future of the armed services in light of potential recruits' weight issues.

"Let's have the Pentagon pop some bucks for school lunch," she said to enthusiastic applause, according to LA Times reporter Mary McVean.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist