Saturday, April 09, 2016
Mrs. Belmont's Farm for Women
I've fallen down a rather deep rabbit hole and then took another plunge into the history of Mrs. Belmonts' Farm for Woman, also known as the Brookholt School of Agriculture for Women.
It was established by Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont in 1911 to "reach the working girls who are tied up now in unpleasant factories doing monotonous things with machines".
I do hate doing monotonous things with machines. Except when I am mowing. That's not monotonous. That's exercise, fresh air, a time to think deep thoughts about gardening and life, a chance to see all of the garden.
The entire article in the NYT spells out the grand plan for the farm and how it was supposed to work as a training ground to introduce city women and girls to farming and help them establish their own farms. However, a year later, it was announced in the NYT that the farm would not continue for a second season.
While those who worked on the farm that first season seemed to enjoy themselves, they didn't quite take to farming. They apparently "were given to wearing high-heeled slippers and dresses poorly adapted to rough work on a farm."
Which goes to show that clothes can make a difference when you are actually working in a garden or on a farm.
Thanks to the Library of Congress, we have free online access to several pictures from the one and only season the farm was in business.
This picture is titled "picking worms from plants".
Then tell them about worms and insects, and spiders.
It's good to see they are all wearing hats in this picture, but only one has on what I would consider suitable gardening clothes.
What's gardening without hoeing? And the companionship of others?
And without companionship, it isn't as much fun.
Perhaps this summer I should establish Miss Carol's School for Gardeners here in my garden? With the proper clothes... maybe I could get at least one season of good work out of a few eager students?
All images from https://www.flickr.com/photos/Library_of_Congress, No known restrictions on publication.