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War Garden Dedicated at ASU

Image associated with the War Garden Dedicated at ASU news item

Author: Timothy C. Ervin

Release Date: Apr 13, 2017

ASU celebrates centennial anniversary of ASU’s patriotic efforts to tend and harvest “war gardens” during World War I.

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Members of Alabama State University’s Department of History and Political Science were joined by a crowd of faculty, staff, students and alumni in a tranquil spot on the southeast side of the campus to dedicate a “war garden” in tribute to those who planted them 100 years ago and in.recognition of the centennial commemoration of America's entry into World War I.

During World War I, the American government gave the lions-share of its commercially raised vegetables and fruit to the soldiers who were fighting America's enemies in combat, but it was not enough. To support the troops, our nation's citizens planted, tended and harvested "war gardens” (that were at their homes or in vacant lots) to feed our soldiers and thus, help win the war.

“One hundred years ago there were students, faculty and staff from this campus that went through the neighborhood in the city of Montgomery and assisted people to plant war gardens,” said Derryn Moten, chair of ASU's Department of History and Political Science. “In 1917, The Montgomery Advertiser reported that more than 1400 war gardens were created at black homes in Montgomery. I like to think of their action as their patriotic duty in this war. It is important because it is not only American history but it’s an important part of ASU’s 150-year history.”

Michael Briddell, director of Public Information and External Affairs for the City of Montgomery, said he hopes the garden becomes an opportunity to talk about healthy eating.

“Just like they were important to our victory over Germany 100 years ago, they can help us in 2017 fight the war that we are waging right now against obesity because we’re losing that war,” Briddell said.” Alabama and most of the states in the southeast have a growing problem that also translates into elevated risks of health, heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer. If we can get away from the diets and food habits that we are using in 2017, then I think we can make a step in the right direction.”

Moten said ASU’s war Garden, which is located directly behind ASU’s National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture, will produce nearly 70 different fruits and vegetables.

“My hope is that our food distributor here on campus will prepare the produce from our garden and serve it in our cafeteria,” Moten said.

Other speakers for the dedication included Dr. D’Linell Finley, professor of history and political science; Steve Murry, director of Alabama Archives and History; Dr. Davida Haywood, ASU’s vice-president of Student Affairs; Kevin Coleman, ASU student and president of Gifted Gardeners; and Dr. Jacqueline Trimble, chair of ASU’s Languages and Literature Department. Trimble recited an original poem she wrote for the dedication titled, “Garden Days”.

For more information, contact Dr. Derryn Moten, chair of ASU's Department of History and Political Science at 334-229-4433 or atdmoten@alasu.edu.

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