Thomas Jefferson – A Founding Gardener, and So Much More!

Thomas Jefferson was a patriot, a President, and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. But did you know that he was also a farmer, an avid gardener, a gourmet, and a “backyard provider”?

Quotes by Thomas Jefferson are almost always pertinent, still today, and each one seems to gain deeper meaning each time I read it.

Here are just a few of Jefferson’s well-known, and lesser known, words of wisdom:

“May it be to the world what I believe it will be, the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free-right the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. all eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately by the grace of God. These are grounds for hope for others. For ourselves let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”


Thomas Jefferson (right), Benjamin Franklin (left), and John Adams (center) meet at Jefferson's lodgings, on the corner of Seventh and High (Market) streets in Philadelphia, to review a draft of the Declaration of Independence. 1 photomechanical print : halftone, color (postcard made from painting). Postcard published by The Foundation Press, Inc., 1932. Reproduction of oil painting from series: The Pageant of a Nation.
Getting It Right!


“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them”.

“I thank you for the seeds…Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity”.

“but tho’ an old man, I am but a young gardener”.

“Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.”

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”

“Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right.  The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on.  The small landowners are the most precious part of a state.”

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny”.


The tarring and feathering of Boston Commissioner of Customs John Malcolm four weeks after the Boston Tea Party
Justice For The Taxman Under The Liberty Tree


“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”


Read More About Jefferson’s Legacy on Gardening and Food Here

See More of Out Posts About Thomas Jefferson Here


Michael Patrick McCarty

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A Journal of Honest Food, Freedom, and The Natural World