Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Wassberg Johnson
Independent Scholar
Website URL
food, home economics, agriculture, rural communities, nutrition history, Twentieth-century U.S., World War I, World War II, home front, cookbooks, public history, local history, New York history, wedding food, cooperative extension, food riots, Country Life Movement, agricultural market regulation, immigrant foodways, war gardens, victory gardens, farmerettes, agricultural labor
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Sarah Wassberg Johnson is The Food Historian – author, speaker, educator, podcaster, and blogger on all things related to food history. A frequent interviewee of journalists looking for historical context, she was featured in all three episodes of The History Channel mini series, “The Food That Built America” and has been featured on NPR, the Atlantic, CNN, Atlas Obscura, and more. She has published in New York History journal and the Agricultural History journal and is currently finalizing edits on her book, “Preserve or Perish: Food in New York State during the Great War, 1916-1919,” under contract with SUNY Press.

Sarah is a frequent lecturer for libraries, museums, and historical societies. You can find past and upcoming talks on her events page. She accepts requests for speaking engagements.

Sarah received her MA in History/Public History from the University at Albany, State University of New York and her BA in History and Scandinavian Studies from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Her Master’s thesis is “Preserve or Perish: The Orange County Food Preservation Battalion and Food Conservation Efforts in New York State During the Great War, 1917 to 1919.”

Although she currently works as a museum professional in the museum education field, her lifelong love of food and history has led her to focus increasingly on American food history. Her areas of specialty include: rural and agricultural history, women’s history, the history of domestic science, World War I and World War II home front history, the Progressive Era, particularly the Country Life movement, and food history in general.

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking vegetable-rich meals from scratch, collecting vintage, ethnic, and community cookbooks, throwing parties, hiking with her husband and her Shetland sheepdog, volunteering at other museums, and writing.

Recent Publications

Master’s Thesis: “Preserve or Perish: The Orange County Food Preservation Battalion and Food Conservation Efforts in New York State During the Great War, 1917-1919” (2015).

“Eat More Potatoes: Milk Strikes, Food Boycotts, and the Effects of the High Cost of Living in New York During the Great War, 1916-1919,” New York History: A Quarterly Journal​ (Spring 2017).

Book Review: Capitalist Pigs: Pigs, Pork, and Power in America by J.L. Anderson.Agricultural History, Vol. 93, No. 4 (Fall, 2019).

Book Review: Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry by Anna Zeide.Agricultural History, Vol. 94, No. 2 (Spring, 2020).

Final editing stages of forthcoming book, “Preserve or Perish: Food Conservation Efforts in New York State During the Great War, 1916-1919” under contract with SUNY Press.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
North America, United States
Expertise by Chronology
5, 8
Expertise by Topic
Food History, Local & Regional, Museums, Public History, Rural & Agrarian History, Women, World War I, World War II