Carver’s significance should not solely be accounted for by his creation of multiple new uses for agricultural crops. In a nation today roiled by debates over genetically modified organisms (GMO food crops), Carver’s “old fashioned” methods of composting, kitchen gardens, and conscious eating seem simultaneously quaint and prescient. He should rightly be lauded him as an avatar of responsible land stewardship and healthy eating.
This essay was written under the auspices of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. The author is grateful for their support.