EnviroThursday - “Cultivating the Atomic Food System: The USDA, Farmers, and Civil Defense, 1955-1965”

12:00 PM  - 1:00 PM
Thursday Nov 7, 2013
Olin-Rice Science Center 250

Speaker: Ryan Edgington, Department of History, Macalester College

Between 1950 and 1970, the United States placed great emphasis on civil defense as a key tool for winning the Cold War. The construction of community fallout shelters and the promotion of home bomb shelters acted as vital components of that policy. The Federal Civil Defense Administration (now the Department of Homeland Security) encouraged families to stock two weeks of food and water in case of an atomic attack.  But what happened when those food supplies ran out?

In this talk Ryan will shift the spotlight away from suburbia and towards rural America. The United States Department of Agriculture played a critical role in educating farmers and food processors about production in the event of a nuclear attack. In a series of brochures and films disseminated to rural communities, the agency cooked up market solutions for post-attack food systems by placing emphasis on the importance of farming to the survival of the United States in the wake of an imagined World War III.

Refreshments provided.

Contact: Ann Esson,

This event is for: Students, Staff and Faculty

Sponsored By: Environmental Studies

Categories: Front Page Events, Lectures and Speakers and Campus Events