Monday, June 22, 2009

Ypsilanti Children Toil in Fields Under Henry Ford's Benevolent Gaze

Kind readers, do you have small children underfoot now that school is out? At your wit's end thinking of things for them to do?

Why not do what your Ypsilantian predecessors did--put them to work as fieldhands for the "motor magnate"?

Merely dig up your lawn for a 40 by 67-foot plot--one plot PER child, that is--and hand them some seed packets, preferably from R. H. Shumway, Dusty Diary's favorite ol'-timey seed purveyor. Print out and show them this 1932 Ypsilanti Daily Press article attesting that past Ypsi kids grew heaping wagonloads of radishes, onions, lettuce, spinach, beans, and beets--enough for 42 families in the Willow Run area!

Your role is easy--merely supervise your toddlers from the shade of a nearby tree as they weed down the long rows under the blistering sun. Periodically call out "One more row before lemonade!" In just a few months of back-breaking toil, you should have delicious vegetables for your table!

Henry Ford would have approved, to see such youthful industry. Now get those freeloadin' kids outside and make 'em start up the rototiller!


Dusty D said...

Excerpt from the book I'm reading, "Parasite Rex" by Carl Zimmer:

"In the 1930s [the era of the Daily Press article, above] the agrochemical industry was born. DDT arrived on the market, a powerful pesticide that came with the luster of modern science--a synthetic creation that humans could use to master nature."

Dusty D neglected to mention that part. Don't forget to equip your little 'uns with a nice big bag of DDT. OK, hustle 'em out there, now--time's a-wastin'!

jml said...

Instead of that Wisconsonite Shumway, you could use seeds from the Ferry Morse Seed Co. The Ferry Seed Co. started in Detroit, and later moved its farms to Avon Township (now Rochester Hills). The company merged with Morse in 1930, moved to Kentucky in 1959, and was bought by a French company in 1981. But, in the 1930's, it would still have been the local seed company.

Ferry Seed's Washtenaw Co. connection is that its founder, Dexter Ferry, donated the land and brick wall for Ferry Field in Ann Arbor.

Dusty D said...

jml: Oh...Ferry field! I never knew of its seedy origins. That's interesting.

Tidbit from Wikipedia: "After football moved to Michigan Stadium in 1927, Ferry Field was converted to an outdoor track and field facility and is still used for this purpose. Its greatest day was in 1935, when Ohio State sprinter Jesse Owens set world records in the 220 yard dash, the 200 meter dash, the 220 yard low hurdles, the 200 meter low hurdles, and the long jump, and tied the world record in the 100 yard dash."