Garden Spot: Lancaster County, the Old Order Amish, and the Selling of Rural America

By David Walbert | Go to book overview

4
DOMAIN OF ABUNDANCE
Food and Farming

We have always had a feeling that there is something basically sound about having a good portion of our people on the land. Country living produces better people. The country is a good place to rear a family. It is a good place to teach the basic virtues that have helped to build this nation. Young people on a farm learn how to work, how to be thrifty and how to do things with their hands. It has given millions the finest preparation for life.—Secretary of Agriculture EZRA TAFT BENSON, 1960

Unfortunately for agriculture, its loudest and most conspicuous admirers are constantly lavishing upon it expressions of respect, while, at the same time, they disdain the idea of proving their sincerity by any act whatever. They admire the profession but advise their sons to pursue another.—Southern Cultivator, 1846

In 1943, Life magazine featured a photo essay entitled “Spring on the Farm in Pennsylvania” depicting an idyllic family farm. The central photograph, “The Barnyard Comes to Life,”suggested all the harmony of man and nature described in any back-to-the-land book. The farmer, his dog panting happily behind, attends a team of draft horses; behind them, cows graze in a meadow fenced in white pickets. A sow leads her piglets past the corner of the fence.“Here the men and horses start out early,” the text reminds us.“Cows that have been penned up in stalls during the cold months come out in the barnyard to get a whiff of sunshine and the good green grass to come. Chickens and ducks wander in and out;

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Garden Spot: Lancaster County, the Old Order Amish, and the Selling of Rural America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Contents xii
  • Garden Spot *
  • Introduction - A Fertile Soil 3
  • 1 - The Invention of Lancaster County 11
  • 2 - Education, Literacy, and the Little Red Schoolhouse 37
  • 3 - The Amish and Tourism 67
  • 4 - Food and Farming 101
  • 5 - Urbanization and Planning 137
  • 6 - Development and Farm Preservation 171
  • Epilogue - The Harvest 209
  • Appendix - Farms and Population of Lancaster County, 1900–2000 219
  • Notes 223
  • Index 253
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