Share your agricultural memories Saturday in Hart

The Oceana County Historical & Genealogical Society in collaboration with the Kutsche Office of Local History at Grand Valley State University and the Oceana Hispanic Center will collect oral histories and other memorabilia that tells the past and present stories of Oceana County’s farm and migrant families during its “History Harvest” Saturday, June 18.

Several public programs are being planned including a day-long “History Harvest” event taking place in the Hart Community Room (behind Hart City Hall), 407 S. State St, in Hart from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. During the “harvest” all Oceana county residents are encouraged to attend and supply their memories of agriculture in Oceana county, whether they are of picking crops or the joy of eating Oceana’s bounty. Those taking part will be interviewed and may bring photos, clippings, diaries and other memorabilia to be digitally copied in an effort to help preserve them for generations to come.

According to Penny Burillo of the Oceana Hispanic Center those taking part in the “history harvest” will be given a digital copy of their interview at a later date.

“Growing Community: Oceana’s Agricultural History” is being made possible through a $11,500 Common Heritage Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant will be matched by Grand Valley for a project totaling $23,000.

Michigan has the fifth largest migrant population in the country, yet Melanie Shell-Weiss, director of the Kutsche Office of Local History, said young children in Oceana County know little of their families’ histories and are less likely to see themselves as community members, despite having deep roots in the area through multiple generations.

“Non-Latino residents are also less likely to understand the deep history of their Latino neighbors or their shared community ties,” Shell-Weiss said. “For these reasons, the opportunity to invite Latino community members — migrant and year-round — to preserve their oral histories and photographs would be of tremendous benefit to Oceana County.”

For more information contact the Oceana County Historical & Genealogical Society at 231-873-2600 or the Oceana County Hispanic Center at 231-301-8300 or e-mail info@oceanahistory.org or Oceanahispaniccenter@gmail.com.