What began as a couple of garden beds showing some of the state’s native plants and their uses, has now blossomed into a block-long, living, thriving outdoor exhibit highlighting North Carolina’s rich agricultural legacy. The North Carolina Museum of History is also growing its partners, teaming up this year with the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission, to help tell the story of North Carolina agriculture, including our State Vegetable-the Sweet Potato! The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission is committed to education, promotional activities, research and honorable horticultural practices among its producers, which makes them a natural partner for this exhibit.
History of the Harvest serves as an exciting outdoor classroom that gives visitors and passers-by a hands-on opportunity to learn firsthand about North Carolina agriculture. The exhibit covers everything from medicinal plants gown by American Indians before European contact to new hybrids developed using advanced plant-breeding technology.
Through public programs and by working with agencies and groups such as the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission and Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program, the museum extends learning about the state’s dynamic agricultural history to teachers and students across the state.
This living, changing, outdoor exhibit brings the story of our agricultural past to life. North Carolina has been and continue to be an agricultural state, and what is being done here in agricultural research and development continues to make history around the world.
Welcome to History of the Harvest exhibit by NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
About the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission
The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission Inc. is a nonprofit corporation made up of over 400 sweet potato growers along with the packers, processors and business associates that support them. The sole purpose of the commission is to increase sweet potato consumption through education, promotional activities, research and honorable horticultural practices among its producers. Thanks to the six sweet potato farmers that chartered the commission in 1961, the commission has supported its growers and maintained North Carolina as the No. 1 sweet potato producing state in the United States since 1971. https://ncsweetpotatoes.com/
About Ag in the Classroom
The Ag in the Classroom program extends Farm Bureau’s commitment to communities directly to the classroom, providing instructional, classroom-ready lesson plans for teachers, conferences and programs, and literacy development through their book of the month. Lesson plans explore fibers, animals and produce through vocabulary and activities for all levels of instruction.
History of the Harvest Exhibit Outline, Programs, and Links
History of the Harvest is presented in six sections with distinct planting beds. Large informational signs guide visitors as they walk along Bicentennial Plaza.
Exhibit Intro: Welcome video by NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler: http://youtu.be/6HHIzZB-NN0
Nature’s Garden and Gardens of Life and Health: The first two sections focus on medicinal and culinary plants that were indigenous to the state or introduced by settlers. This section highlights plants such as sassafras, rivercane, rosemary and rue.
Early Agriculture: This section centers on the “three sisters” companion planting arrangement traditionally used by American Indians in North Carolina. Corn, beans, and squash, the “three sisters,” were grown together because the plants benefit each other.
Changing the Landscape and North Carolina as an Agricultural State: Cash crops such as tobacco and cotton which were important to the Tar Heel State, are featured in these beds, as well as other crops grown by today’s North Carolina famers, such as our state vegetable, the sweet potato. North Carolina currently leads the nation in sweet potato production.
From Field to Lab: Agriculture is a billion-dollar industry in the state and North Carolina continues to be a leader in the complex web of agribusinesses competing on a world market and on the forefront of biotechnology research and development.
Dr. Chilton talks about spending part of her childhood growing up in North Carolina, her work producing the first transgenic (genetically engineered) plants, and her role in creating a world-class research facility at Research Triangle Park. Approximate run time: 36 minutes.
Symbols of the State: From dogwood trees to blueberries, strawberries and muscadine grapes, North Carolina’s signature plants are highlighted in this area.
North Carolina Agriculture Overview http://www.ncagr.gov/stats/general/overview.htm
National Ag in the Classroom https://www.agclassroom.org/
North Carolina Agriculture 1860-2007 http://www.learnnc.org/lp/mapliner.php?id=ncaghist
Got to Be NC http://www.gottobenc.com/