Realizing George Washington Carver’s Vision for Life and Land

February 18, 2021 12:36 PM

In January 1921 George Washington Carver traveled from Tuskegee, Alabama, across the Jim Crow south and into the segregated nation’s capital. He was there to extol the value of southern farmers’ peanuts as the House Ways and Means Committee considered tariffs on imports. Crowd-pleasing presentations like the one he gave that day, and on many more days all across the south, earned Carver the moniker “The Peanut Man.”

Although this caricature of Carver persists today in children’s book and the cultural lore around this unique life, it misses the deeper, nobler point of Carver’s work. That’s because, to Carver, the peanut wasn’t just some curious media for his experimentation or a vehicle to a profitable career. Rather, to Carver, the nitrogen-fixing properties of the peanut  was life-support for impoverished soils of southern farms and the protein-rich nutritional profile of the peanut was nourishment for bodies of Black farmers he sought throughout his life to serve.

Continue reading this post on the Iowa Learning Farms Blog at this link.


Adam Janke Associate Professor

Adam Janke is the statewide Wildlife Extension Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Adam is a trained wildlife biologist, having received a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in wildlife conservation and ecology from three land-grant schools in the Midwest.  He is also certified ...