FDR's New Deal attempted to remedy these problems through multiple programs. The WPA provided jobs for those who had lost their lands. The Civilian Conservation Corps restored farm lands devastated by dust storms. The Farm Security Administration experimented with resettling sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and submarginal landowners into group farms on viable lands.
Those farmers who were able to retain ownership of their land survived the Great Depression growing their own food and trading goods for other supplies they needed, like our Spare A Dime character The Farmer. Our Farmer survives on hard work and hope. She sings about those two essential qualities of American life in Promised Land, (the duet with The Immigrant described yesterday). In the second half of Spare A Dime, she sings Voices Raised, an anthem to both individual rights and mutual aid. The Farmer is based on Director/Composer Kimberly Niemela's paternal grandmother, a first generation American who raised ten children on a Pennsylvania farm during the Great Depression. She is also an homage to Philadelphia's determined urban growers, especially those in COSACOSA's partner communities of Passyunk Square and Nicetown-Tioga. As one North Philly elder told us, "You have to nurture hope just like seed for it to become what it's supposed to be." Join us at PIFA 13 and help nurture the hopes of communities all over our city!
Tomorrow's post is our final character profile: The Mother!