Wednesday, June 24, 2009

During the Depression, Ypsilanti Bloomed

Anticipating by decades the exemplary efforts of Ypsilanti's Growing Hope and the community gardens in Recreation Park and Frog Island, during the Depression, Ypsilanti bloomed.

Led by indefatigable local social worker Inez Graves, Ypsilantians who owned vacant lots donated over 100 parcels to a citywide gardening effort. Families in need tended plots of tomatoes, peas, peppers, beans, lettuce, and took home healthy fresh food for the table that they otherwise could not afford to buy. Lots in the center of town were particularly desirable. "Few of the families in need of home gardens have means of transportation," notes this 1932 Ypsilanti Daily Press article, "and accordingly lots within the city limits, or at least close in, are greatly in demand."

That's right--the poor families in town had not even a means of transportation to get around. What they did have is the grit and persistence to coax from vacant property, kindly donated by owners, crops of healthy fresh food for their otherwise straitened families. "Families lived for months during the summer mainly from their gardens," notes the Press. "The food they canned served to augment their otherwise limited diet."

Dusty Diary admires the gumption and resourcefulness of these Depression-era gardeners, whose hard work provided for their families, and made our vacant lots bloom.

1 comment :

Dusty D said...

And now, if you will kindly permit me a micro-boast, I'm gonna go out and pick some nice fresh peas for dinner. Nom. And some lovely lettuce. Mebbe a sprig of cilantro and a few chives to chop into the salad.

But not without a raised-hoe salute to the resourceful 1930s gardeners preceding Dusty D.