This Land Is Your Land – Out to Lunch – It’s Acadiana
Many indigenous populations have a view of their place in the universe that defines them as stewards of the Earth. Australian Aborigines, Native Americans, and others, see themselves as intimately connected to the land.
Here in Acadiana we’re intimately connected to the land in an agricultural sense, but you wouldn’t expect to see Neil deGrasse Tyson delivering a lecture on Cajun Cosmology. If anything, the spiritual aspect of both Cajun and European immigrants here are shared in Catholicism, whose worship is mostly directed upward to the Heavens, not down to Earth.
Nevertheless, in recent years we have come to realize we are all stewards of the Earth. Whether you believe in manmade climate change or you think that something other than science is behind it, we know we have to do what we can to preserve green space, and grow and consume crops responsibly. Most of us try and incorporate these philosophies into our everyday lives. But for some of us stewardship of the land is everyday life.
As a student, EB Brooks started a campaign to save the green space then known as the UL Horse Farm. The campaign worked. In 2013 EB went to work for Lafayette Central Park, the non-profit formed to oversee the design, development, operation and maintenance of what is now called Moncus Park. Today, EB is the organization’s Executive Director, and has helped raise over $14,000,000 towards the park’s construction.
Beth James is the 7th generation steward of her family’s land – over eleven hundred acres in St Landry Parish. Beth is the co-owner of James Farms, and co-founder of a new venture – a rice mill making a product called Prairie Ronde Long Grain Rice.
We’re not seeing the current generations of Acadiana residents – as you might expect – drifting away from the land, but if anything the opposite. Our current stewards, typified by E B Brooks and Beth James, have a greater reverence for the land than ever.