The Magic of Monsanto: Your 1950s Guide to Better Gardening

A promotional film illustrates how you, too, can achieve the American dream by using chemicals in your home.

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In Garden Wise, a promotional short from the controversial chemical company Monsanto, an all-American couple experiences the ups and downs of trying to plant their own garden after moving to a new house. They soon discover that their clay-based soil, combined with the unpredictable weather, makes it impossible for their once “tender city hands” to grow anything. That’s when they turn to their elderly neighbors (the keepers of a beautiful garden themselves), who recommend the “chemical soil conditioner,” Krilium. However problematic, the film’s narrative appeals to the fantasy of owning a slice of the outdoors, a dream shared by many Americans in the 1950s.

For more films from the Prelinger Archive, visit http://www.archive.org/details/prelinger.

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Alessandra Ram is a former writer and producer for The Atlantic Video Channel. Her work has also appeared in Foreign Policy.

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