Jimmy Carter National Historical Park


One of my most vivid memories of my childhood was of the earth. There was a closeness, almost an immersion in the sand, loam, and red clay that seemed both natural and constant. I remember how enjoyable it was to walk behind the plow, my bare feet caressed by the soft and cool freshly turned earth. The Great Depression really devastated our rural farming economy. The New Deal programs initiated under President Roosevelt’s administration helped to combat this economic downturn and were meant to help farmers conserve the precious topsoil making the land more productive. On our farm, we concentrated on minimizing erosion by terracing the fields and planting the rows on contour. We planted soil building crops like clover, legumes, and vetch; and we worked to enhance wildlife habitat. I learned early on that if we take care of the land, it will take care of us. It may or may not be my descendants who live on our land in the future, but I’m confident that the earth itself will basically remain the same, continuing to shape the lives of its owners for good or ill, as it has for generations. It’s good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joy and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.


President Carter's views on stewardship and how his young life influenced his adult life.



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