J500 Media and the Environment

Reconnect: With Your Past by justinlev7

Farmers pass on more to their children than their name. They pass on their cultural legacy, in the form of  agricultural tradition. Their greatest fortune is the soil they cultivate.


By helping their children till this soil and plant seeds, farmers  pass along the tips and tricks that their ancestors had left to them. Years later, their children inherit the land, add their own innovations, and pass them on to their children. 

Try to remember when your land was this important to you. It was your cultural legacy, your unique perspective on life, and your fortune. It was the age of the family farm, in the truest sense of the term.

Now, we live in the age of the factory farm. Our food is abundant but obscure. Our land is simply a site for a house, a tree or two, and a manicured lawn. The convenience of the corner grocery store has killed our need to produce our own food.

Despite having to plant their roots in a new country, immigrant farmers Pov (pronounced Paul) Huns and Aye Aye Nu used their farms to reconnect with their heritage.

Pov, originally from Laos, farms untraditionally. “It’s common American practice to keep weeds out, and I’m the one that says keep the weeds in,” he said. And Aye Aye, from Thailand, grows chaibong, a Burmese sorrel that usually can’t be found in the U.S., at her Kansas City, Kan., farm. She has driven as far as Omaha to sell her crop to fellow immigrants.

Follow their example! Help your children start a garden this summer. Dig a plot near your house, plant some seeds, and water and weed every now and then. Spray each other your hose! Get muddy! Get some dirt in your fingernails! You’ll keep cool, and your kids won’t forget it.

-By Justin Leverett, Group 2

V is for Victory and Veggies by meganr21

What is a Victory Garden?  A Victory Garden is a kitchen garden planted to relieve food shortages. Victory gardens were very commonplace during World War II.  World War II began in September 1939 and by January 1940 the United States began rationing food.  The government asked people to plant gardens to support the troops.  By growing their own food, it freed up commercially farmed fruits and vegetables for troops overseas.

By 1943 over 20 million Victory Gardens had sprung up throughout the United States in backyards, empty lots, even on rooftops in the city. As people began growing their own food canning became very popular so produce could be used outside of the growing season. The result? The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that during the war almost 10 million tons of fruits and vegetables were harvested at home and in the community.

My great grandmother had a victory garden and grew enough vegetables to supply fresh produce to some of her neighbors that were working in a defense plant.  She even built a root cellar where she kept potatoes, onions and canned vegetables and fruits to use during the winter months. She continued planting gardens and harvesting the bounty until her death at the age of 80.

When WWII ended the government stopped promoting Victory Gardens.  For many decades urban agriculture and home gardens fell by the wayside.  Driven by the economy many people are turning to home gardening this summer to supplement their diets. The recent revival of Victory Gardens leaves one question – have you decided what you’re planting this summer?

-Megan Richards, Group 1 – blog post

Photo credits: Fridge and Tunnel, Farms and Fields Project, Clemson