Vegetable Seeds

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Seeds for 2017's garden.
Seeds for 2017's garden.

One of the few things almost synonymous with being a Malayalee (someone who speaks Malayalam, mainly from Kerala, India) in America is growing a garden in their backyard filled with traditional vegetables such as bitter melon, moringa, green chilies, and more. Although our cuisine has slightly changed to accommodate the ingredients that are easily available in America, growing our own vegetables has allowed my family to create traditional and authentic food. Whenever someone has the chance to go to India, they always manage to bring a couple seeds for my family and over the years, we have built up quite a supply of seeds. More than a simple hobby, my uncles and aunts recruit labor from my cousins and I each year to implement elaborate yet efficient designs for the garden. For the last several years my cousins and I have helped my uncle prepare the soil, add supports for the vines, and water the plants all throughout spring and summer. Outside of enabling our family to continue eating our cultural food, the seeds and the garden allow my uncles and aunts to relive their previous life as farmers in India, something they gave up when immigrating to America. However, beyond that, the seeds and the garden symbolize how my mother’s family took the little they had and laboriously produced viable fruit in another land to give the next generation more opportunities than they had.

Place(s): India

– Christo Vairamon

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant