Hello fellow readers,
Last week wrapped up the 75th annual NJ State Fair held at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta. In addition to the display gardens of which we were part, there were rides, vendors and food galore; largely not healthful but part of the fun. Best of all was the farm influence of produce and livestock for sale and for judgment. The prize – glorious ribbons many awarded by 4-H which, thanks to mom, inspired my gardening start.
It’s said that 1 out of 7 Americans have been involved in 4-H which is administered by the National Institute of Food & Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and dates back to the early 1900‘s. It was created to help public school education become more connected to rural life. It was found that adults in the farming community didn’t easily accept new agricultural discoveries. Educators learned students would experiment with new ideas and share then with their parents.
I loved hearing the stories of when mom went off to high school in the ‘big city’ of Walden NY leaving behind the one room school house. Farm kids were made fun of – cast off as not so smart, Mom would say. 4-H helped bridge the gap between the farm and city communities.
In 1972 through 1981 a children’s program called Mulligan Stew sponsored by the 4-H Council was shown in schools and on television. It featured a multi-cultural group of kids who went on nutritional adventures around the globe. The popularity of the show propelled 4-H membership.
The focus of 4-H is practical hands-on learning. Children take the lead on their own projects, set and achieve goals that help gain confidence. I recall weeding myself silly just in time for judgment day. Literally I wore a path around my rectangular flower garden filled with annuals grown from seed featuring a marigold border. Gratefully my garden design skills have grown since then, but my preference for planning and planting still supersedes keeping up with the weeds. Who has time to putter?
The 4-H emblem is a green four-leaf clover with a white H on each leaf standing for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. The green stands for growing living things and the white for purity and cleanliness. Wait a minute, weeds are green.
Garden Dilemmas? firstname.lastname@example.org