The Earth Knows My Name; Food…by Patricia Klindienst (January book)

KODAK Digital Still Camera

15  January 2019

Seven (7) club member present

Peg missed the photo shoot

• I give this book a 2 smiley face rating out of 5 the rest of group rated it as a 4
• Sarah probably liked it for history (who wasn’t there!)
• I didn’t learn much about gardening
• Talking to Pat on the phone, she thought I would not like the book
• Yes, I did not, but it was still a good read
• Told story of how the author grew up (European immigration). Sort of like a history of free trade! Making of a garden is a way of keeping memory alive and protecting their culture heritage from everything that threatens their survival as a people. The trail of the immigrant led to farm/garden.
• The landscape of food, culture, and community are completely tied together, but in our society we’ve completely separated them. It’s all spiritual. “My dream is not to just save Bainbridge Island but to save the world by getting people to eat from where they live.
• Our life depends on the health of the soil beneath our feet.
• Gardens create a path to create a link to the land.
Welcome (U.K. and Australia ID’s ere on the web site)


Start discussion
Go around table give a short synopsis
Give the book a SM rating
Discussion of ideas from short synopsis
Any new books?
Confirm 19 February
Anything to share?

My Notes

Told story of how the author grew up (European immigration).  Sort of like a history of free trade!    Making of a garden is a way of keeping memory alive and protecting their culture heritage from everything that threatens their survival as a people.  The trail of the immigrant led  to farm/garden.    Talk about “the wheat farm”, including  and cultivated fields.  Talk if birds singing in the garden in the  grassy paths.  Dwelling in a garden.  It means what is meant by “working the garden.  Is the immigrant a person, or a plant.

Over year the author has traveled the U.S.   to inspect the stewardship of the land.  Told stories of the Vabzetti’s vision of the garden.  The people thought of gardening as a means justice.  Qustion:

  • what is seed
  • what was the forgoet fruit
  • the forgotten about food people tended to eat
  • people have lost and cultures (4%)
  • Gardeners are also restoring the land
  • It’s  a land ethnic
  • gardening is like not accepting the   “normal”
  • we have ignorance of our normal Gen?
  • Below will be inspections of 15 different gardens

The idea of the authors def. of the garden is different than most.  Is it a farm? or a garden?

The  story goes back to the European conquest of America.  Will talk about migration of gardeners.  Talk about how migrants are “saving” small cities in the U.S.    All gardeners (true) are environmental philosophers


Four Sisters Garden and Monte Vista Harm (New  Mexico)

Being with  the dogs in a city by the Rio  Grande

Native Americans have adapted to the changing growth and are not growing food  from their heritage.   Because of this an epidemic of adult-onset diabetes is happening.   To be more self-efficient.

Gardeners read an listen to the soil.  Also learning from  the weeds that grow.

Everything the gardeners needed, they had…..they were no poor.   These were not divipoisoning the soil or air.   Clayton said he was exposed to pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.   He thinks that he might have some residue  from the days on a commercial farm.  These people, Iroquois were told by heir elders, should plant corn, beans, and squash.  The land is our first mother.  It was all industrial pollution that killed the cows  and bees too. (10%)

ding line.  The garden preserves your  identity.   The  Iroquois has a story of how the earth was created.   The original garden was actually a grave.  So, the original garden was circular.

Working for both native  and commercial gardening.  On a native farm you are not

Ethnic rights during the 60s started the need for restoration of gardens.  Talk of the one straw revolution/We change our food and the way we grow it, and our lifestyle also changes.  “It’s not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings”.  We farm  like we eat.   You need to dig deep for soil prep but only cultivate the top two inches of the soil.  Use compost to nourish the soil.

Industrial agriculture destroy topsoil eighty  times faster than nature can replace it.

Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human enviroments.  It deals with water, energy, and communications, so permaculture iss the relationship between these variables   and how they are placed on the landscape.  We need to  learn from nature.  Also, what works for our land.  You  need to take care of the earth (all the time).  You talk to the land, it will talk back to you. (14%).  Growing food is an ethnic family habit.  The was pressure being a native kid going to school.  The relationship of water with the other landholders.  It all  had to do with ditches.  For the Indians, food was a talking point.

Started growing tomatoes for a farmers market, David got laid off and the need for growing big time.   Relationships are formed by creating different types of food.  Food is the center of your culture.

The farmers market are replacing (or filling) the void  of no food culture.  The thrill of growing organic.

A way of life is picking se5ed and  growing something!

Be close to the   earth! (18%)

Skills to be close to the earth

spirits of ancestors

Tourism is destroying some native gardens  (from generation to generation).   20%


  1.  The Inigo garden  that has been passed down since emancipation (about 8 feet tall).   It has rich soil.  Since slavery the land is where we grew up.   They were poor so  they didn’t see the depression. Bring island life into the classroom.  This was Ralph    Middleton’s garden.  Indigo  was a cash  crop.  talk of Indigo dye.  Cash crops for  South Carolina were rice, indigo,  and cotton.  African slaves were vital for indigo.  The skilled slave was the master  of the dye.
  2. Otis pickup, tailgate down, full of fruits and veggies.   From Orange Grove Community.    Otis helps hanged when the older people out his neighbors with food and money from his rental property.  Everything has come from the land.  Be a leader, then other will follow.   He is going to give the land to the next  generation.  They grew everything that they wanted to eat.  We Used to.   Everything seems to be alone, and don’t want to share.  Otis makes everything.  Save everything from seed.  He hasn’t bought seeds for over 30 years.  Otis doesn’t have aby PVC pipes to bring in irrigation water mixed with fertilizer.   Otis keeps  cycling from one veggie to another.  There is a question of the future of the land.  Otis farm     goes back  7 generations.   Otis does not grow tobacco.
  3. Slaves would have provision gardens (slaves attached to their garden and animals)  They might even sell their “stuff” to their masters.   Lose the land you lose the culture.  Had review of the deed for selling the land.  Slaves  were offered usually a 10 acre field.
  4. Mexican migrant farmworkers (28%)  They pick two tons of tomatoes  to make $50 a day.      They get no benefits.  Its a boom or bust crop.  Turned over to wealthy settlers.
  5. A slave masters  garden.  One of the oldest landscape garden.  Good view of the river, butterfly lakes, an/d the bluff.  Slaves moved many tons of earth.   Did greed play a role in this garden
  6. Polish American shared a land with a Japanese American berry farmers.  It’s hard to live off the land because of the expense of land (from the high tech sect.).  Farmers need their  land to grow veggies, but have  little for retirement.  These berries became the fruit for wineries.  Houses and just to expensive in taxes.  Has bad thought of leaving land to the bulldozers.   Some wineries don’t go their own  grapes.  They get some fragrance when sampling home grown wine.  Now Mexicans grow “commercial” grapes.  It’s industrial wine.
  7. Weed Control in Mexico.   People were pickaxing weeds out of the vineyard in hundred degree temperature.   Is the trade “we trade herbicide for slavery?  No we want to market this wine as organic.   Growing organic is an ethic, not a marketing tool.    Winery is a large-scale dishwashing gig.  We  use some tractors for weeding  and rototilling.    Air circulation around the fruit.   The most  toxic chemical release on the field  are residue  from diesel fuel.  Betsy wanted to farm using only horsepower.  The most valuable thing  we have is time, but we don’t appreciate it.
  8. Japanese immigrants like Akio who lives by deeds, not by words.    The immigrant is not a plant but a gardner (who wants to shape the world).
  9. Grew up in Green Brook in New Jersey.   Talked to an old man selling vegetables, before people came into settle.   The price immigrant  paid for changing their name.   Wrapped the bark to save the veggies.  This person introduced him to nature.    Cave exploring club was discussed.  Local beer is evil because the grains are not “home”.    You need to know where you food comes from, otherwise it’s ugly.  Need goculture integrity.  Everything that I eat is from the valley.   Be of a community .
  10. Grow grapes in the coolest possible  place where grapes would ripen to get wine that was fragrant and delicate.  This meant either Western Oregon or Western Washington.   Akio went to ask for the logging money.  Talk about language  problem.  Everybody just wants to  make money.    People want a big job andthey don’t want to dig in the dirt.  You need to work on task, not a schedule.  You have to defend what you do.   It’s not enjoyable to farm..  He was a strawberry farmer….they ended up not liking strawberries.  Talk of Japanese putting in quarantine. The landscape of food, culture,  and community are completely tied together, but in our society we’ve completely separated them .    It’s all spiritual.     “My dream is not to just save Baainbridge Island but to save the world  by getting people to eat from where they live.
  11. The Khmer Growers; (45%)   This was in Mass. it was cold.  All the tress looked dead.  The gardeners were  from Cambodia –  a garden of refuge,  all refuges leaving their land become a Christian (because of sponsorship).  You go along with “that”.  Keep family together.  They use tractors to bury their dead.  When planting they had to bless the land (asking evil spirits to  leave).  These two ladies have many trellises willed with veggies..   These people were survivals of Agent Orange.  They bow for  respect.  They also  grow yard long beans.  Into to Hippie Delight!   Money raised from farmers market  with money sent back home.   Cambodian people commented about dying together back in the homeland in Cambodia. Smart people were  killed and buried in short graves.  With water we could have rice.  Thai immigrants were gardening together.  Talk about traumatic memory for the gardeners.   Talk about slaves in the 70’s in  Khmer Ridge.   In gardens you work for pleasurer.  It’s not like cleaning toilets or washing peoples cloths.
  12. At a Cambodian Buddhist  temple,  this temple was built by Japanese promoting nonviolence.  Rice farming is tough in Cambodia.  The people love rice.  The Khmer Ridge turned to communism and then turned Cambodia to slavery.  Then the city people were  killed.   Cambodians was shocked when coming to America.  They have their kitchen gardens.    It’s their spiritual place…talk to their own garden (55%).  The monks come to this temple (the founder of Buddhism was  there).  Feeding the monks is a tradition.   Dressed in finest cloths.  Talk of trauma for history (culture shock).  Working in your own garden is like being in heaven.
  13. Two Italian Gardeners;  An 85 year old  person offered coffee and  cookies.  To garden is to keep your life complete.  Would bury fishbones on Friday night under the roses in backyard.  When we came here, people did not like Italian.   It’s like the Mexican people today.   Relationships and culture can leave you in minutes.    These immigrants had a farm and grew everything.   The family would sit around table to learn, it was a difference between new and old.   It could be working with ones own hands.
  14. Passing through the little wooden gate;  Then look at their little garden (to a private world). (61%)   Rosemary has a healing power.  Space designated for plants.  Talk  about language of the past.  Many grapes and tomatos, dry apricots and figs.  Everything is about composting.   We even share with the squirrels.   The farmer is in their glory.  Story about coming to America….just off the boat.   Their was stories about Fascists people.  School children in little black uniforms.    This was from Mussolini.  Work was a theme of their lives.  When you get old, you become comfortable working in the garden.
  15. Tullio Inglese;     standing the of a house, looking down at the landscape…it’sdefined by rocks.  It’s a stony place where soil may need to be imported.   People take soil from one place to another…really!  Cane from Italy.  If not educated you became a farmer  (66%)  tending flocks of sheep.   They made everything.  In winter they would eat their pig.    It’s about gardening and farming.    The Germaans took all the livestock’s from  Tullio.    Talking about the faithfulness of their dog.   On traveling to the US it was a thought of going to heaven..  The father dug up a parkijng spot and planted a marvelous garden.    The gardeners kept sharing seeds with eack other.
  16. Married of Tullio and Judith in 1967 went back home..    His barn  was not there, it   was removed.   Though, the land is quite old.  American wanted quantity not quality.  Many Architecs preach sustainable gardens, but they can’t grow vegetables or even do compost.  They also can’t build what they design.   Gardening is meditative.  Words like:   sustainability, ecological, having compost piles (71%).
  17. Punjabi Garden is Fulleton  California.  I will be poorer in America, but my conscience will be free..  They had left India in late 1970’s.  They have a garden with a tree rarely grown outside of India, it’s called the neem tree.  This buddhist emperor has led India on a path to nonviolence.  He recommended that every village should have a neem tree, first to shade from the intense heat, and then for its wonderful healing properties.  Please come to our garden and view the neem tree.  Viewing a pomegranate tree was fund (from Asia).   Bring plants to life by working the soil.     Lesson, a parent is just like a gardener.  They help shape and construct child/plant.
  18.    Soil restoration in  India (from the royal  poor).  He (Sir Albert Howard) studied fungal diseases of plantation cash crops.   He was impressed by learning from actual poor gardeners.   Need the uptake of protein from the soil dirt.  Talk of the biotec web, the chain energy.   We need to return all organic matter to the soil.  Our life depends on the health of the soil beneath our feet.
  19. Dead  soil was found that chemical fertilizer produced.  Education by other farmers helped her  recover the soil.   Mass movements of people in Pakistan.  He as shown a jamun tree.
  20. Pollination of the custard  apple
  21. landscape is a powerful market of  nationality and class
  22. Ring a tree around the garden
  23. Know the history of the food you eat.
  24. A plant has a portion of history.
  25. The tree Sarva Roga Nivarimi is a tree that will give good health, all fruits, leaves, seeds have good healing properties.  A neem tree is also good for about everything, ot even drought-resistant. and can live for two or three hundred years.
  26. protect and save the comminuty as a buddhist.
  27. Neem is good for the soil.
  28. Urban Gardens a migrant farmer.  First were tulips then tobacco, then food packing.   Exposed to chemicals in the field.   Working by hand.   Lonelyness…to poor to feed their own families
  29. Story of Spain claiming Puerto Rico…16th century.   Determined by trade.  Can’t vote.  They then became into a wage economy.   Lots of migrants
  30. Quality of life for PR is very low.
  31. ecology is the science  of economy
  32. Creation of a community garden
  33. the people did their own cooking and canning
  34. The young people lose the benefits of the gardens
  35. passing down information to the next generation
  36. the politics of urban development in gardening
  37. you need to educate yourself….moving up to the next level  (for a womans group), keep your own culture.
  38. Giving a kid something to do, they might be on welfare, but having a garden is free
  39. Can say, “I planted this” (87%)
  40. creating restaurant spot
  41. use of river to power plant.   This was mostly immigrants, even Lutheran churches
  42. learning from elders how to garden (water)
  43. creating a health/no waste is to use the compost created
  44. Sacred Indian Corn: a true yankee with ties to the native Indians.
  45. Use the corn to make johnnycakes.
  46. the eight-row Indian corn
  47. Story of corn in New England is the story of one idea of the garden supplanting another, one culture sets out to supplant another.
  48. The  English thought that they would improve the  garden lands of the Indians. (92%)
  49. Epidemics of 1616 and1633 exposed to pathogens to which there was noimmunity.
  50. In the 1600 hundreds the Pequots were capture and somewhere madeslaves (loose of culture).     For freedom and existence.
  51. Indians were selling the land.
  52. Indian child being reburied.
  53. In 1930 was talking about white corn at Martha’s Village
  54. Indians want to move back to the village and rebuild their heritage.
  55. The idea of a gift of seed (like currency)
  56. Seeds create a story or culture heritage for the spirit
  57. The garden of the world in one huge democracy
  58. earth is the ground  of our life.
  59. Garden create a path to create a link to the land.
  60. Note from a club member:  This book contained some interesting cultural information and history, however, I’m not sure the author made her point.  Several of the family examples she gave were not growing foods that reflect their culture, and few had children who were interested in carrying on with the gardening that their immigrant parents had begun.


One thought on “The Earth Knows My Name; Food…by Patricia Klindienst (January book)

  1. Klindienst’s The Earth Knows My Name offers an evocative account of emotional ties to land and plants. At times, strong emotions get in the way of horticulture, but this empathetic book would appeal to many who love gardening and have strong ties to different parts of the world. 3/5 stars assigned.


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