Beginning with the Old World shipment of daring Europeans into this virgin land of plenty, the abundance of America’s unending potential has kept us in business for nearly 400 years. To contemplate a single country capable of providing every fruit, vegetable, tree, and plant…not to mention filled with the largest variety of fur-bearing creatures in the world…how unsurprising our first creditor put such effort in keeping claim to this stake.
Vastly varying climates and soil quickly gave way to a mass transfer of native land to the big business of farming. Whether it be cash crops of tobacco and hemp, or sprawling fields filled with cattle or sheep, or even the Rust Belt filled with rich deposits of iron and copper, the United States staked its claim as one of the world’s leaders in providing rich natural resources.
Even President Jefferson commissioned a massive Roman-inspired garden upon the grounds of Monticello, continuing to work the soil and daily journal each and every plant and seed beyond his presidency.
American agriculture was big business. Any family capable of owning even just a few acres could sustain themselves, and any family capable of owning many more could achieve the American Dream of becoming a successful business. Neither came without consequence, neither came without sacrifice, and neither came without those moments in history we all wish we could forget. Regardless, this land became quickly dubbed, “The Land of Plenty,” for plenty was and continues to this day to be its yield.
Here are a few Historic Timeline Highlights:
- 1600s- Tobacco becomes first important export
- 1793- Eli Whitney invents the Cotton Gin
- 1862- Department of Agriculture and Homestead Act introduced/enacted under President Lincoln
- 1873- Barbed Wire invented
- 1890- Agriculture becomes increasingly mechanized and commercialized
- 1893- Depression causes tens of thousands of farms to fail
- 1931- Grasshopper Plague devastates crops across the nation
- 1933- President Roosevelt creates the Emergency Farm Act
- 1940- One farmer supplies enough food for nearly 11 people
- 1960- One farmer supplies enough food for nearly 26 people
So as we continue to still be one of the most geographically diverse countries on the planet, let us remember as we move forward and make choices concerning this great place…
“Respect the land and take care of it and, in turn, it will take care of you.” - American Native wisdom
Audrey L. Elder
Past to Present Research LLC