In observance of Juneteenth, 4-Hers plant Freedom Garden

Posted 23 June 2021 at 3:38 pm

Provided photos: 4-H Senior Council members Hugh and Joanie Gabalski (left side) and Grace Gregoire (right side) plant a Freedom Garden in observance of Juneteenth. Heritage variety vegetable seeds were included as well as red-colored flowers.

Press Release, Orleans County 4-H Program

KNOWLESVILLE – Members of the Orleans County 4-H Senior Council observed Juneteenth recently by planting a Freedom Garden outside the Education Center on the 4-H Fairgrounds. “The Freedom Garden includes edible plants that would have been an important food source for freed slaves,” explained Kristina Gabalski, 4-H Program Coordinator at Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension. “We also included red flowers because the color red is such an important part of the celebration of Juneteenth. It symbolizes the suffering and bloodshed of the slaves during their bondage.”

The Freedom Garden is located outside the classroom entrance to the Education Center. 4-Hers planted heritage varieties of vegetables including California Blackeye Pea cowpeas, Morris Heading collards, Dorinny Sweet corn and Sugar Baby watermelon.

“The cowpeas have a direct link to Africa,” Gabalski said. “According to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, they were domesticated about 5,000 years ago in the savannas of sub-Sharan Africa and would have been a very familiar crop to freed slaves.”

The garden should be growing vigorously by the time the 4-H Fair takes place in late July, Gabalski said.

The finished garden is located around the flagpole outside the classroom entrance to the Education Center.