Historic Harvest Garden
A collaboration with the National Park Service’s Cape Cod National Seashore and the Barnstable County 4-H Program
Sustainable CAPE’s Historic Harvest Garden serves as a National Park Service educational display at the Atlantic Research Center at Highlands Center at Cape Cod National Seashore in Truro, Massachusetts. Each spring Native American and “wash-ashore” youth come together to plant a heritage garden with seeds sourced back to varieties grown in the 1600s. The garden is planted and blessed in traditional ways, and our connection to the earth is honored and explored.
This Historic Harvest Garden is then tended throughout the season and serves as a collaborative, youth-created display for visitors to the Park. Botany, history, health, environmental sustainability and volunteerism are some of the many benefits taught through this garden.
The Importance of Truro’s Local Food History:
In 1620 the Pilgrims’ first landed at the end of Cape Cod, exploring Truro for five days before continuing onto Plymouth. Here they discovered a wealth of Native American agriculture and “got seed… or else they might have starved”. Governor William Bradford also noted that Truro had an abundance of game birds and deer, good fishing, rich black soil, many acres of cultivated land and “good corn-ground ready for our hands, as we saw by experience in the goodly corn that it yielded, which would again agree with the ground and be natural seed for the same.”
Today Sustainable CAPE’s Historic Harvest Garden serves as a vibrant, growing display of some of the botanical knowledge existing in Truro in 1620 – crucial knowledge that may well have enabled the Pilgrims’ survival.