The University of Georgia Press recently published “Remaking Home Economics: Resourcefulness and Innovations in Changing Times.”
Horticulture Associate Professor Susan Clark co-authored one of the book’s chapters, “Our Own Food: From Canning to Community Gardens.” It describes the history and importance of wartime gardening and canning for our nation’s food security and how civic agriculture education, practice, and professional leadership is a contemporary local food concept that addresses some of the issues facing agriculture today.
The chapter raises the question whether civic agriculture is the new 21st century home economics since civic agriculture addresses comparable issues about local and regional food production, economic security, and social capital to the home economics of the past.
As stated in the chapter, “The term ‘civic agriculture’ encompasses key tenets of home economics, including relationships between human ecology and the natural environment; nutrition, food, and health promotion; producers, consumers, and food security in the community; social and economic development; local identity, history, values, and culture; civic engagement, public policy, democracy, and community problem-solving; preserving, processing, retailing, and other food-related industries; storage, distribution, and waste infrastructure; and quality of life in both rural and urban environments.”
The authors agree that moving forward we need education to reflect these attributes to cultivate a healthier community food system and lifestyle. Such a revival of home economics education through civic agriculture can ensure safe and healthy food, and enough food for all.