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Anastasia Day is a history doctoral candidate and Hagley Scholar in Capitalism, Technology, and Culture at the University of Delaware. She identifies as a historian of environment, technology, business, and society--themes that collide uniquely in food, and especially in food gardens. In addition to her dissertation project, she has also done research on food waste, with projects about ‘garbage’ and about trash compactors in progress. In her spare time, she gardens, cooks, runs, and reads detective fiction.
Lawrence University, B.A. Philosophy (English, Latin), 2012.
University of Delaware, M.A. History, 2014.
Environment, technology, food, capitalism
Dr. Arwen Mohun
"Productive Plots: Nature, Nation, and Industry in the Victory Gardens of the U.S. World War II Home Front"
In 1943, the backyard plots, community gardens, and industrial easements cultivated as Victory Gardens produced 42% of the fresh produce United States residents consumed in that year. This dissertation will be the first full-length study of this phenomenon, and the first to interpret Victory Gardens in light of wartime developments in agriculture, industry, and society. My study centers the factory metaphors of industrial production to illuminate how Victory Gardens were a part of the military-industrial productionist zeitgeist, rather than a sustainable, grassroots alternative per popular historical memory. I will examine the role Victory Gardens played in the emergent industrial foodways of midcentury America, how they affected industrial labor relations and public relations, and how they mediated relationships between citizen, state, and nature through food. Ultimately, I hope to explain what it meant to think of gardening as “a manufacturing process in which you and Nature go into partnership,” in the words of one primary source. [Seymour, E. L. D., Your Victory Garden. Chicago: J.G. Ferguson, 1942. p. 12.]