The Earth Knows My Name: Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic Americans

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Beacon Press, 2006 - Gardening - 246 pages
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Why have we tamed the history of gardening in America? Patricia Klindienst asks in "The Earth Knows My Name." We are a democracy of gardeners yet, with few exceptions, the garden is presented as the province of the privileged and the white. Garden writing tends to exclude the stories of the ethnic peoples who have shaped our landscape for centuries. As a result, the idea of the garden has been stripped of its cultural weight.
"The Earth Knows My Name" speaks directly to this gap in our understanding, exploring the deeper implications of what it means to cultivate a garden and to grow one's own food.
The fifteen gardens presented in "The Earth Knows My Name" have all been fashioned by people usually thought of as other Americans: Native Americans, immigrants, and ethnic peoples who were here long before our national boundaries were drawn, including Hispanics of the Southwest, descended from the Conquistadors, and Gullah gardeners of South Carolina, descendants of West African slaves. All of these gardeners straddle two cultures-mainstream America and their culture of origin. Their stewardship of the land is an expression of the desire to preserve their heritage against all that threatens it. And so each garden becomes an island of hope and offers a model, on a truly sustainable scale, of a restorative ecology that renders justice to both the land and the people who cultivate it.
 

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The earth knows my name: food, culture, and sustainability in the gardens of ethnic Americans

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Though Klindienst imposes a strong philosophical structure on the narratives in this poetic collection, her political interpretations come second to the beauty and humor in what is essentially a set ... Read full review

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Contents

RENEWAL Four Sisters Garden and Monte Vista Farm TESUQUE PUEBLO AND ESPANOLA NEW MEXICO
1
FREEDOM The Gardens of Two Gullah Elders ST HELENA ISLAND SOUTH CAROLINA
33
PLACE A Polish American Vintner and a Japanese American Berry Farmer BAINBRIDGE ISLAND WASHINGTON
65
REFUGE The Khmer Growers AMHERST MASSACHUSETTS
103
MEMORY Two Italian Gardeners from Mussolinis Italy REDWOOD CITY CALIFORNIA AND LEVERETT MASSACHUSETTS
133
PEACE A Punjabi Garden FULLERTON CALIFORNIA
169
COMMUNITY The Urban Gardens of Nuestras Raices SOUTH HOLYOKE MASSACHUSETTS
191
JUSTICE A Yankee Farmer and Sacred Indian Corn STONINGTON CONNECTICUT
217
A Garden Democracy
241
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
243
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About the author (2006)

Patricia Klindienst is a master gardener and an award-winning writing teacher. She lives and gardens in Guilford, Connecticut. This is her first book.

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