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Henry Griscom Parsons, of the New Garden School of the New York Botanical Garden, wrote what was essentially a pamphlet of gardening guidelines so that the “city dweller” could grow food and help alleviate the U.S.’s wartime food shortage. Parsons claimed that the food question was the gravest one the U.S. had to ask during war and that it was every American’s duty to produce as much food as possible and eat economically. More people and military forces could be fed then, and more food could be exported overseas as part of the U.S.’s inchoate mobilization efforts. Parsons set out to guide those living in cities – people unlikely to grow but rather buy food – in producing their own food so that they may “supplement” their vegetable-purchasing through growing small gardens and laboring for short amounts of time. To that end, Parsons instructed readers on how to attain the right soil, tools, seeds, fertilizer and more, effectively guiding them toward creating their own city gardens. He described city gardening as a form of “self-taxation,”; the city dweller would be committing an act of patriotism and duty but also gaining pleasure and profit from it. Parsons mainly seemed to prioritize easing city dwellers into gardening, as observed through his continual reminders not to be ashamed of tending to smaller gardens and fewer vegetables, his notices of available gardening courses, and his guideline of making sure the work was a pleasure and not a burden.
D525.U6 P37 1917
Boatwright Special Collections
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