The Agri-Culture Garden
We wouldn’t exist without the food plants whose lives have been intertwined with those of our families and ancestors, and they wouldn’t exist without us. The stories of our relationships with these plants are the stories of our history, traditions, and culture. Tell me what plants were important to your grandparents and their parents, and I will understand something about you.
But why emphasize your grandparents and older generations? Because for many younger people the link of passing plants and stories between generations is broken. Food from the grocery store tells no stories of the purchaser, tells nothing of who they are or the place of which they are a part. It is food that comes from everywhere and nowhere.
Remembering and telling the stories can be a step toward grounding the teller and the listener. And the garden can bring the stories to life by restoring the relationship of a particular plant with a person. As part of the Agri-Culture Garden at the Berea Urban Farm, thirty-six people of many backgrounds and ethnicities shared their stories of a food plant that had significance to their family. Each of the thirty-six plants were grown in the Agri-Culture Garden and the stories (along with information on growing the plant and recipes) have been compiled in a booklet “The Agri-Culture Garden: Stories of Plants and People,” available from Sustainable Berea.
During one of our gatherings at the Garden, some of the participants were videotaped with their plants by Marielle McIntosh. We hope you enjoy this introduction to the Garden and its people.
The Agri-Culture Garden Project is supported by a grant from the Center for Inclusion and Belonging.