Growing Community and Identity: 1930s Home Demonstration Club Gardens in the Oklahoma Panhandle

Shelly Lemons (McKendree University)

In the 1930s, women in the Oklahoma Panhandle experienced life on the periphery. Isolated on the vast expanse of the Oklahoma plains, their physical location mirrored their gendered position in the social hierarchical order. US Agricultural Department Cooperative Extension Agency programs helped empower rural women, providing them with skills and support to improve their lives. The many programs created by the extension agencies included: landscape improvements, poultry science, and gardening. Unlike the 1920s, when young women separated themselves from their mothers and grandmothers, young women involved in Home Demonstration Clubs in the 1930s re-centered their gender roles on family ties.

Part of 32-06 Cultivating Identity with Recentered Seeds, Wednesday, October 20, 11:15 am–12:45 pm