As Black History Month comes to a close, we want to recognize the many ways Black Americans have changed and influenced the world of gardening and agriculture.
As early as 1910, George Washington Carver, advocated for sustainable gardening practices through his research at the Tuskegee Institute. Practices which included composting and crop rotation (often between legumes and peanuts).
In the 1960’s, Booker T. Whatley promoted Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), decades before it was popularized in Europe. Community Supported Agriculture programs directly connect local farmers to their community. Farmers offer shares of their farm to local consumers, then using the funds to start planting. Once harvest season comes around, community members receive weekly boxes of fresh produce. Making for a mutually beneficial connection with local farmers and community members!
Black Garden Clubs like Our Garden Club of Philadelphia and Vicinity, which is considered the longest continuously running Black garden club in the US (founded in 1937), have worked with community members for decades to share the joy and harvests of gardening. This garden club works with elementary school students, sharing gardening with the next generation.
Last year, we also shared the story of Dr.Marie Clark Taylor the first Black American and woman to earn a PhD in Botany. Her accomplishments and research are not only impressive but impact botany today!
Sources and Further Reading