The Earth Knows My Name



Squash Blossom, Courtesy of Clayton Brascoupe, Tesuque Pueblo, NM

"There is so much in each chapter of this extraordinary book that you might want to grasp it in one large bite, but you can't, for here the world of farm and garden and food takes us to a far deeper place than we're used to going, to a world that is not separate from politics, despair, refuge, beauty and ultimately the salvation of heart, life and culture."

—Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy and Local Flavors

"It lifts my heart to find the kind of intelligence, grace, and regard that are in this book's pages. Patricia Klindienst has accomplished something wonderful."

—Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams

"...Patricia Klindienst steers the conversation about immigrants and immigration in a more humane direction, reminding us that, whether we are first generation Asian-Americans or eighth generation descendants of Spanish settlers, almost all American families emigrated to this land. And land lies at the heart of this book: homeland and adoptive land, farmland and forgotten land… And it is here, in the gardener's recognition of the connectedness of the social and natural world, that The Earth Knows My Name offers its greatest lesson."

—Jaman Matthews, World Ark Magazine from Heifer International

"Warning: this book is powerful. Don't be surprised if, come spring,
you find yourself planting a cottage garden..."

--Best Book of the Year, 2007, Money Changes Things blog, Philadelphia, PA


Brandeis Denies Sacco's Appeal, August 22, 1927, from left:  Guiseppe Natale, my mother, Esther Nita Natale, her sister Nunziata Natale, the Natale restaurant cook. On step below, Violet Natale.

Inspired by a torn and faded photograph that shed new light on the story of her Italian immigrant family’s struggle to adapt to America, Patricia Klindienst traveled the country to write this book, gathering stories of urban, suburban, and rural gardens created by people rarely presented in American gardening books: Native Americans and immigrants from across Asia and Europe, and ethnic peoples who were here long before our national boundaries were drawn: Hispanics whose ancestors followed the Conquistadors into the Rio Grande Valley, and Gullah gardeners of the Sea Islands, descendants of enslaved Africans. With eloquence and passion, blending oral history and vivid description, Klindienst offers a fresh and original way to understand food, gardening, and ethnic culture in America.

"A moving tribute to those who keep the ancient love of the land in their hearts, and who stand up to the giants of agrobusiness in their fight to preserve their cultural heritage."

—Dr. Jane Goodall, author of Harvest for Hope

"This provocative, wide-ranging work looks at the deep connections between people and the land. Pick up a book that will leave you blessing the ground you walk on and appreciating every petal and leaf you see."

—Ann Lovejoy, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"An original and exemplary kind of cultural study, The Earth Knows My Name is essential reading for anyone seriously interested in the growing reality that an ancient ecological relationship, imaginative and religious in its intensity, is slipping away."

—Geoffrey Hartman, Sterling Professor Emeritus, English and Comparative Literature, Yale University, Co-founder of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, and author of A Scholar's Tale: Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe

"In her deeply moving and profound work, Klindienst brings together uplifting stories of gardeners who have, through their gardens, powerfully resisted the cultural imperialism of assimilation, and in so doing, enriched us all."

—FedCo Seeds Catalogue 2008, Organic Growers Supply, Waterville, Maine



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