Urban Growers

Creepin Reaper from Urban Growers

Reflecting on the Past Looking toward the Future

Reflecting on the Past Looking toward the Future: Thinking about family traditions for celebrating the new year, I reflected on the traditions of my ancestors as well as the meaning of the first month of the year, January. As many of you know, January was named for the Roman God Janus, His statute shows two faces – one looking into the past the other into the future.

My ancestors lived off the land. Today, my family has slightly varied from this New Year’s tradition but serve similar foods. Even during slavery times, the food my ancestors ate on the January 1st of the new year were products they grew and raised.

Some items were either traded or purchased: flour and rice.

Meats eaten were mostly parts of pork and beef parts that others did not eat; neck bones, chitterlings, pigs’ feet, ham hocks. They also raised turkeys, goose and chickens and gathered their eggs.

Vegetables were all grown in their gardens or on fruit trees growing in  their yards; corn, tomatoes, okra, collard greens, mustard greens, onions, yams, black eye peas, sweet potato pie, apple pie, black berry and peach cobbler. They made wines from wild berries and  muscadines and used seasonings picked from herbs grown wild in near by fields. The grew some sugar cane, got syrups from trees surrounding them.

We celebrate New Year’s Day with a variety of foods not all necessary grown in our gardens, but purchased from the local store.

Our new menu consists of Sea Food and Chicken Gumbo, rice and crackers as well as pigs’ feet, Country greens with collard, rice, black eyed peas, yams, peach cobbler. We drink beer, occasionally wine and crown royal.

As we grow our urban peppers in this new year, we will improve on the growth of our collard tree. We’ll plant and harvest more tomatoes (several are currently sprouting). Also planning to cultivate our cucumbers and squash to improve upon last year’s harvest.

We have looked to the past and learned. Now we look to our future.


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