The Rich Heritage of the Poor Turkey

Listen to "The Rich Heritage of the Poor Turkey"


Professor Neil Prendergast (say that ten times fast, with a mouthful of turkey, squash, or pumpkin pie) is a history buff and a turkey-o-phile.  He’s fascinated by the history of turkey farming in the United States.  He explains the relevance of women’s turkey raising practices in the 19th century to current farming systems and the need to move towards more ecologically integrated agricultural techniques.  The “professionalization” of our knowledge systems has disintegrated our holistic approach to the natural world and where our food comes from.  This is demonstrated, using the turkey as an example, through the differing attempts to resuscitate the wild turkey population by wildlife biologists, and the domestic turkey population by the agricultural scientists.  To top it off we must also contend with market driven cultural traditions. Even so, I warmly wish each of you a very happy, meaningful, and thoughtful Thanksgiving weekend.  Eat well (and consciously), be grateful (for everything), and enjoy yourselves (thoroughly)!


Author Spotlight

Professor Neil Prendergast

Professor Neil Prendergast
Neil Prendergast teaches United States cultural and environmental history at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. His work has appeared in Environmental History, The Western Historical Quarterly, and been featured in the Boston Globe. He is currently working on a book project about the place of nature in American holidaysRead Full