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Pioneer Gardens title image

Vegetable Exhibit at Standing Rock Fair
Man and child with vegetable exhibit at Standing Rock Fair, Fort Yates, ND
Fiske photo SHSND# 1952-0574
These boastful articles of the Tribune contrast with the silence about most pioneer gardens. In part this can be attributed to the promise of North Dakota wheat. It was wheat that would make the pioneers rich; the gardens were only a measure of thrift until that glorious day arrived. But the reality was that the gardens women and men raised provided for the family when wheat did not, and the garden surplus provided food for travelers, newcomers, and perhaps a few extra pounds of produce to sell in a nearby town. Productive gardens were the only source of community welfare in desperate times. Gardens also supported community churches with vegetables and fruits for harvest suppers and Fourth of July picnics. Gardens quietly underlay the growth of North Dakota’s wheat industry and towns. (Handy-Marchello, pp. 60, 68, 70, 89)