By Andrea Smalley, Children’s Librarian
Do you know what Michigan business sector employs more than 923,000 people and brings in over $91 billion to the state’s economy? It’s Michigan agriculture, and it’s happening all over South Kalamazoo County.
According to the Michigan Agriculture Council, Michigan is the nation’s number one producer of blueberries, tart cherries, cucumbers for pickles, Niagara grapes, dry black beans, and low-fat ice cream mix. Michigan is also in the top three producers nationwide of carrots, celery, hostas, marigolds, squash, apples, asparagus and so much more.
Michigan agriculture is the past, present, and future of Southern Kalamazoo County. To explore the history of agriculture in the area, come in to the Vicksburg District Library and take a look at books such as “Glimpses of a 19th Century Village” by Mabel Hudson Hawkins; “Water Over the Dam” by Grace Molineaux; “In the Service of the Farmer : My Life in the Michigan Farm Bureau” by Clark L. Brody; and “Michigan’s Centennial Family Farm Heritage” by Mary L. Wermuth. These titles explain how agriculture shaped the growth of Vicksburg and all of Michigan and trace the history of individual farms and farmers in the area.
The Library also has books for those interested in experimenting with agriculture themselves. “Homesteading: How to Find New Independence on the Land” by Gene Logsdon; “The Complete Homesteading Book” by David Robinson; “Urban Farming” by Thomas J. Fox; and “Farm City” by Novella Carpenter all provide guidance for readers considering taking part in Michigan’s current agricultural bounty.
The Vicksburg District Library also has plenty of resources for future farmers. The Fun Facts series, donated to the library by the Farm Bureau Young Farmers, covers “Farm Animals,” “Farm Equipment,” “Farm Crops,” and “Farm History” for young readers.
Books like “Cool Jobs for Yard-Working Kids” by Pam Scheunemann; “Muck and Magic” by Jo Readman; and “Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots” by Sharon Lovejoy offer practical advice to get children involved with agriculture, gardening, and entrepreneurship.
These books are just a few examples of the Vicksburg District Library’s resources on Michigan and agriculture.
Whether it is large or small-scale farming, a child’s garden today or a 150 year old centennial farm, agriculture helps define Michigan, and the Vicksburg District Library can help you explore it.