Recent storms moving across the state, like chorus lines according to my friend in Milan, Minn., have brought hail. Hail means devastation to a crop, whether garden or field. Personally, I have lost two gardens this summer, one to a flood and the other suffers greatly from the hail last Friday.
I posted this disappointment on Facebook and received many comments, condolences and conversations. The question I posed was – what did the homesteaders do when they lost their gardens or wheat? Did it mean a winter of starvation? Did they have the foresight to can enough, save enough or store enough to last two years? Three years? More?
It’s a good question as the local foods network in the state works to bring more diversified farming and food from farmers to our economy. While we can’t live on what ifs, we really need to address the question of what do you do when your source of food dries up, even if for only one year. Did neighbors get together and help? Were families close enough to share?
Our agrarian ancestors knew they had to “make hay while the sun shines” or starve. My challenge to you today is ask your mom or dad or aunt or uncle how they survived or prepared for a drought, hail or tornado during the North Dakota growing season. Post your answers as comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are collecting the answers for our cookbook project because we believe someday we may need to know the answer.