[captioning by Robin Morgan]
Sweet Potato Harvesting
Place is on a farm road near a village north of Nago, I think.
Think this shot was taken while on one of my "photo hikes" where I took a cab as far north as I thought I could manage to get back to base in time on foot. I think I usually ended up back at a highway after some hours and decided to thumb it to get back in range so as not to come in late for muster.
Date is Summer 1967
The people - A farmer and his son who undoubtedly thought I was a lost soul, but never stopped their work to be curious.
While on tour in the north, our guide told us about two important agricultural products in the history of Okinawa. Pineapple and sweet potato were the two discussed produce items. I'm pretty sure he impressed upon us that the sweet potato was introduced to Okinawa at a time when some crop failure due to a blight of some sort had put the people of Okinawa into a famine situation. Only the few wealthy people could afford to purchase imported foods from other lands. The sweet potato was found to be compatible with the soil and moisture levels and grew quickly. So the poor people were saved from starvation by the sweet potato. I don't recall any significant story about the pineapple. Maybe it was a money crop that failed ?

[editor's note: pineapples are today a big, big export commodity. Back in the 1980s we could drive up north, pay a small "admission fee" and go into the pineapple fields and cut our own. It was quite an outing and tourist attraction/activity. (Mick McClary)]


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S.A. Mick McClary - Kichigai-no Design
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