Late vegetable garden offers lesson on Pilgrims’ struggles

10:33 am | November 5, 2012

Students at Elizabethton High School have grown part of their Thanksgiving dinner as a lesson on the Pilgrims for their Advanced Placement U.S. history class.

Photo by Ashley Rader
Josiah Thomasson pickes a turnip from his history class’s Pilgrim garden. The class planted a late fall garden to get an idea how difficult it was for the Pilgrims to grow enough food when landing in the country.

U.S. history teacher Alex Campbell said the task was a way to show students the hardships America’s first settlers faced when they arrived in the country.

“The pilgrims arrived here late in the year,” Campbell said. “They struggled to plant crops and to have them grow to have food.”

Part of the lesson was a challenge for the students to grow and harvest as much of their produce as possible before Thanksgiving. The crops they grew will be prepared and cooked for a Thanksgiving meal for the class.

Students grew kale, mustard greens, turnips, radishes, broccoli, cabbage and Brussell sprouts in box gardens in one of the school’s courtyards. The history class planted, tended and is now harvesting the vegetables.

Campbell said the class will be allowed to receive help from “Indians” who could provide venison, squash, corn or beans for the meal, to stay within the Thanksgiving story. He said the “Indians” would be students in the class who had family members who could supply the venison, or who wanted to donate the extra vegetables.

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