In her 2011 book, Founding Gardeners, British author and design historian Andrea Wulf indulges her personal curiosity about the connection between America’s political origins and its early leaders’ extensive and magnificent gardens. Her colorful exploration suggests that the evolution of agriculture and botany in the U.S. go hand in hand with the patriotic visions of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams.

Wulf’s depiction of these founding farmers is at once nostalgic and heartening, particularly given more citizen involvement in farming and a greater focus on the value of the natural world. The founding gardeners’ emphasis on simple living and self-sufficiency is a priority in the food movement today as well–a relevant reaction to the fear of an industrialized economy that drives Americans to extravagant lifestyles born of capitalistic inflation. Read more