Abandoned silo, Frisco Texas.
Keeping Our Farm Heritage
Growing up on a suburban street in Paris, Texas, my family never maintained a vegetable garden. I had no idea that canning was something
a person could do by herself. I barely learned how to sew, knit, and crochet. I still do not know how to make lace, or a flaky pie crust, for
that matter.

I've also figured out that I'm not the only one who isn't skilled in the domestic arts. In fact, most people of my generation do not know what
it takes to be self sufficient and self reliable. Because we grew up with the convenience of TV dinners, pre-made clothes, and available
fruits and vegetables all year round, we have no connection to the land and subsequently, to our heritage.

Historians concerned with post-modern America (ca. 1945-on) have theorized that the disconnect younger generations feel towards the
land is due to the hardships their parents endured in the
Great Depression. As the land failed millions of people - and was sold practically
beneath their feet to big farming corporations - former farmers began to distrust the agricultural system in general. Making a living off of a
few  acres proved impossible in the modern world, and family farms became a distant memory.

The heritage of Texas and Oklahoma, however, is the land. With our wide open spaces, nutrient rich prairies, and acres of grazing land, our
history is intimately connected to the way of life of farmers. The Caddo farmed communal land; the white and Latino settlers broke the sod
for commercial crops; and black freedmen found both bondage and freedom in turning the soil.

So how can we reconnect with our farming heritage? One way is to buy produce at the various roadside stands manned by local farmers.
We can also try our hands at maintaining small vegetable gardens of our own. We can write down family recipes, keep heirloom blankets
and quilts, and teach children how to hoe a garden, make jelly, and sew a doll.

History comes alive when you actively participate in your culture. By keeping a connection to the land, we can continue to leave a legacy
that is much more real than any farm implement display in a museum.  
Kentucky Town, Grayson County, Texas.
Questions or comments? E-mail me: robin@redriverhistorian.com
Along the Cane River in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana.
Banty, Bryan County, Oklahoma.
Near Columbia, Hempstead County, Arkansas.