The Rich Heritage of a Gardening Family: Discovering My Family History

It is amazing today how we have Walmart, Target, Kroger, Sams Club and many more places in the world to go and buy groceries for ourselves and family. In 2019 all we have to do is get up, put clothes on, go into a grocery store and get whatever we want from frozen foods, canned foods, snacks, meat and produce. Really, we don’t even have to do that we can just go online, order everything we want, wait outside for someone to bring it to us, and go home. I was mind blown this past week talking to my parents and grandparents about gardening, vegetables, cooking, and working for everything. Gardening has been in my family for years and I am saddened that I am just discovering this because I want to know all about how and when it started.

First, I had to find out where I am from and a little background about my family. I have never actually wondered or thought about exactly where my family is from and how it was all started, but my English professor asked me in class and I was completely frozen because I did not know. I asked my grandmother the same question I was asked “where does our family come from?” She went on to tell me that my family comes from Kentucky but a very small part in Lebanon and my grandfather had a huge house in the 80’s in the middle of nowhere. He had a huge farm filled with animals and all kinds of produce and herbs that him and his ex-wife started. I was amazed to know that my family came from Lebanon and that we actually had a farm full of animals and produce. After, I found out about where my family was from I wanted to know about gardening and how it affected our family.

“Gardening” was something I didn’t think my family or anyone around me had anything to do with. It was so interesting to get to talk to my grandmother about gardening in my family; she told me that our family was raised to go out and grow it yourself. She explained to me that during her times that’s what everyone did, everyone grew their own stuff for their families. I asked “what about the grocery stores?”, and she said that there were grocery stores around but there was no better feeling than to go outside your home and pick stuff out that you grew. My family has always been about cooking “good home cooked meals.” She told me that when she cooked she never went to the grocery store and bought produce or canned foods; she wanted it all fresh from her garden. She said that she raised all of her children to work for everything they get; this made me wonder did my parents garden and grow vegetables as well…

“The food he grows will be fresher, more nutritious, less contaminated by poisons and preservatives and dyes than what he can buy at a store (Berry 10).” I really love that part of the reading in “Think Little” by Wendell Berry because this was the similar response I received from my mother and father. All my life I can only remember my parents going to the grocery store and picking up everything we needed for breakfast, lunch and dinner; I never saw my parents outside growing or planting anything.

So, I asked them if gardening was ever anything, they were a part of. And they told me yes, they were raised around gardening and they also did it themselves; they shared with me that when they first got married they had planted flowers and grew a lot of greens and tomatoes because my they were huge fried tomato fans. I asked them “why did they stop?” and they told me because they had 6 children it was tough to actually keep up with planting and growing vegetables. My dad said gardening is something he is wanting to get back into doing after my little brother graduates from high school because it was relaxing, fun, interesting and fulfilling. My family actually has a history in gardening, but I was curious to know was this common in my background and ethnicity.

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