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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It’s The Land, Katie Scarlett

“… land is the only thing in the world worth workin’ for, worth fightin’ for, worth dyin’ for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.”---Gerald O’Hara in Gone With the Wind

Having lived and worked in Atlanta, Georgia for more than 15 years, it is expected that I would know the story Gone With the Wind very well.  Recently the quote from Gerald O’Hara came into my mind as I was thinking about the Sherburne County century Farm Program

The land, and ownership of the land, is so important.  I have written in the past about the variety of crops grown on the farms of Sherburne County.  Living on the land and growing the corn, the soybeans, the potatoes and all of the other crops that are raised in this area is truly a mind boggling concept.

To even further confound the mind, think about the farm families that have lived on the same piece of land, and worked the land for more than one hundred years.  That is even more astounding!

We don’t do enough to acknowledge the farmers of the United States, all of the hard work they do and their sacrifices to the land.  It is not just their hard work that makes the farming industry so important here.  Their lives and farms have helped mold the personality and character of the county.  The history of the county is reflected in every farm and farm worker in Sherburne County.  We need to acknowledge that.

How different the county would be if the strawberry crops had not been raised around the area.  What would replace the Christmas Tree farms?  Remove the potato farms and how does this effect the county?  How would any of these change effect the character of  the county?

As Gerald O’Hara said, “land …it’s the only thing that lasts.”

Friday, February 11, 2011

In Praise of Legacy Grants

These are tough economic times.  The legislature struggles to close a 6 billion dollar deficit, job market continues to look dreary, gas prices continue to rise; and to make matters worse it is cold outside!  Yet, in spite of all of this, we can take a look at some of the details of the past few years and count some victories.

In the local history field, perhaps a significant success over the past two years has been the implementation of the Legacy Grants, which are officially known as the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.  In 2010 legacy grants were issue to 343 organizations throughout Minnesota.  In a report issued to the legislature by the Minnesota Historical Society, the estimates suggest that for every dollar spent through the Minnesota ACF, the return on investment was $1.95.  That means Minnesotans almost doubled their money on every dollar spent on cultural heritage in the state!

The Sherburne History Center has been a beneficiary of this grant money.  In this past year, we received over $25,000 to improve the storage facilities for the museum and archives.  Static shelving was added to the museum storage to improve access and preservation of the artifacts.  In addition supplies were purchased for the archives so that the photo collections and archival collections are better cared for.

There is no doubt that spending money on cultural heritage on the local and county level provides a major benefit to the area residents.  Here in Sherburne County we have received major support from county and local leaders.  As we dwell on the dismal view of the national economy, we need to take a moment and thank everyone for their efforts to continue to support Cultural Heritage in Sherburne County. 


Some of the new storage upgrades courtesy of MN ACF grant money