Neighborhood Ethnography: An Analysis of the Kinderhook Farming Community of Columbia
In this research paper, I will discuss, explore, and comprehensively analyze the Kinderhook farming community of Columbia. The methods applied in compiling this article include using both formal and informal interviews, archival research, participation-observation, and reading primary and secondary written sources. I have been surveying this community closely for a period of three days consecutively, thus coming up with comprehensive research on the same. I focused on the morning, lunch, and evening hours when the farmers are free from their routine activities. Therefore, a Neighborhood Ethnography of the relationship between these people and the importance of their everyday activities is the core purpose of this research.
Though Columbia was initially started with the aim of eliminating racialism, it comprises various communities that include part of Clarksville, Simpsonville, and Atholton. Columbia people range from different religious beliefs. Many families dominate the country due to its considerably friendly economy. Though Columbia County was originally developed to assist the government in building a commercial center, other commercial activities dominate the same region. These activities include commercial real estates and offices that are both retail and wholesale projects (McVaugh 486). However, the main project that strengthens the economy of Columbia is farming. Consequently, these favorable projects allow me to fit entirely into the Columbian community. The farming activities in this region offer excellent job opportunities for students during the holidays.
Columbia County is found in New York. However, I will focus on Kinderhook, the farming community in Columbia. Kinderhook is situated in Northwestern Columbia, a sparsely populated area located in the Hudson River midway valley. It covers about 626 square kilometers, which can be approximated to be slightly above 400,000 acres of land. Further, the advantages depicted by Kinderhook are the transportation corridor that has been an important conduit for people and goods, including agricultural products. Moreover, modern boundaries have been a significant dividing line between Massachusetts and New York (McVaugh 480). Either way, Columbia consists of a vast range of physical features like the Taconic mountain range that is opposite the Hudson River. The place has a scenic view that gives the county a striking aspect of scenery, thus presenting a critical ecological niche and a visual border on the west. Its physical features provide the county with a rich climate that is very efficient for agricultural activities in all seasons. The forests comprising Columbia not only act as a habitat but also as a home to the hardwood forest. Therefore, the Taconic Mountains are a natural boundary on the eastern side, while the Hudson River becomes a more definite edge on the same side. Columbia has gained a lot of fertility from the movement of the mountains over time, and the soils in this area have the richest farming lands on the western edge. Its vast productivity has played a great role in supporting the abundant plant life that is a very appealing habitation for both animals and humans for centuries.
Notably, for our community to succeed in its activities and live in abundant cohesion, we are governed by sets of very compact social boundaries. These boundaries include interdependence, commitment to set goals, and a shared history that encompasses the farming culture in Columbia. In an interview with several farmers in the field, I realized that interdependence is the primary social boundary that has always been applied in the farming industry. Interdependence entails giving back to the community and its members what you expect in return. In Kinderhook, farmers have always used this social boundary, thus threading the idea of all interwoven in one practice (McVaugh 481). Therefore, a farmer has to avoid undertaking a farming process that will affect the yields or produce of other farmers in the same community. For instance, using biodegradable fertilizers and other chemicals that are very harmful to the environment is often not recommended. Farmers are usually recommended to use organic farming practices since these chemicals significantly affect the soil and the weather changes.
Moreover, Columbia has a deep-rooted history of food production in America since the 16th century. Thus, the farmers have always used the historical knowledge of a rich Columbia as one of their social boundaries for maintaining a food-rich region. Research done from written sources indicates that the Mohican community participated in all forms of subsistence farming both wild and domestic (McVaugh 483). A cultural history that the existing communities of Kinderhook have carried on. Additionally, the research involved interviewing the recorded families with a history of producing high yields. An analysis concluded that the skills used had been used over and again for centuries, thus cultivating a cultural history of farming resulting in the production of high yields.
Commitment to the farming practice has also been among the most significant social boundaries that have been recurrently used in propagating the productive farming culture in Columbia. Such obligations include joining cooperatives that are formed from the product of their yield levels. Moreover, the commitments are witnessed when individuals work together with the government and ensure that the long-term goals of being the best food production county are optimized (McVaugh 483). Either way, Columbia farmers have the skills they have earned over the years, which are also inducted into their offspring. Hence, this kind of upbringing ensures that farming skills are continued in all generations.
The said social boundaries cemented amongst the community members are solemnly practiced to ensure that the community lives in harmony. Moreover, communication becomes part of the livelihood amongst Columbian farmers and their families. Communications allow all farmers and their families to have a sense of belonging, which comes from the ultimate cohesion that is drawn from the ultimate goal and peace connecting the community members. Moreover, communication among society members is very significant for developing new ideas that are often discussed in the meetings held on different occasions (McVaugh 484). In my community, I play an important role in ensuring that I get all the upcoming projects funded. Moreover, I am amongst the youths who are part of an initiative that campaigns for environmental conservation. As an environment conservation activist, I can ensure that community members are aware of environmentally unfriendly practices. Funding the local projects is an undertaking that is left for community members who have plenty of time to apply for such funding through internet access. Consequently, in most cases, the funds are handsomely granted considering Columbia is amongst the best food producing counties.
Kinderhook is a community that is made up of different people who often undertake collective activities that are organized to ensure that they eliminate racialism and ethnicity. Such activities include traditional festivals featuring each ethnic group and other charitable activities to fund local orphanages. These festivals often happen once a year, especially the Kinderhook fall festival is quite significant, and the charity activities are carried out twice yearly. Kinderhook is a small community; thus, it is easy to establish that a newcomer has joined their community. However, the Kinderhook people have set up intact security systems that are used for intelligence purposes (McVaugh 485). They can determine if a newcomer has the community’s goodwill. If a stranger needs to grow their skills or invest in agricultural activities, they are fully welcomed and invited to live and interact with the people in this society.
Though my course does not coincide with my neighborhood directly, I hail from the same community; therefore, I have the community’s aspects at heart. I have plenty of similarities with the people of the Columbian region because I have the historical identity within me of growing the agricultural sector in New York.
McVaugh, Rogers. “Recent changes in the composition of a local flora.” Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club (1935): 479-489.