One of the events I attended yesterday at the Wisconsin Book Festival was entitled “Wisconsin Gardens: A Historical Perspective.” I enjoyed hearing from both authors who presented: Lee Somerville, a landscape historian and master gardener, and Marcia Carmichael, the historic gardener of Old World Wisconsin. Carmichael brought baskets of herbs, flowers, and more from the Old World gardens for us to pass around and “smell and pet,” and she put it, and even encouraged us to have a taste of the edibles if we were interested. One of the main threads of her work at Old World Wisconsin is representing how the ethnic groups that came to Wisconsin in the 19th century preserved their culture in part by growing produce and preparing foods that reminded them of home.
The same thing continues in the 21st century. This wonderful, recent article from The New York Times examines the farming of refugees from around the world who are recreating a piece of home here in the US today.