Sunday, June 5, 2011

America's founding fathers grounded in farming

Blooming Hawthorn by backyard garden
There has been much controversy over the faith of America's founding fathers.  Seems many want to make them a bit more Christian and evangelical that others believed them to be.  Whatever their personal beliefs it appears a shared passion was farming.  I discovered reading a commentary, "The founding gardeners", by Andrea Wulf, that the first four presidents of the United States, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were all avid gardeners and loved their compost.

At Mount Vernon George Washington made a point to plant an American garden with no English trees.  He would be turning over in his grave to see the widespread invasion of European Buckthorn on American soil.

In 1818 James Madison gave a speech in which he indicated protection of the environment was vital to the long-term interests of the nation.  He noted "Vegetable matter which springs from the earth... must return to the earth."

Of all of the dirt that gets dug up and flung around in politics, I like Ms. Wulf's uncovering of our early president's private gardening lives the most. If only more of our leaders were as well grounded...

Andrea Wulf has written a book entitled "Founding Gardeners - The Revolutionary Generation, Nature and the Shaping of the American Nation."

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