The Earth Knows My Name: Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic Americans
Publish Date: 2006-04-12
Author: Patricia Klindienst
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.