Last week, volunteers associated with the Cornelia Walker Bailey Program participated in the harvesting of sugarcane in conjunction with the Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society (SICARS). They spent several days stripping and cutting the cane in the Johnson, Gardner, Walker and SICARS fields. After the sugarcane was cut, it was sorted into two stacks; one stack will be replanted, and the other will be sent off-island to be pressed into syrup. This effort is part of the broader goal of developing sustainable economic activity in Hogg Hammock. Historically, Sapelo Island has been home to the Geechee, direct descendants of slaves brought to the island from West Africa. While there is a wealth of history regarding thriving Geechee communities on Sapelo, over time they have been consolidated into the singular 434-acre community of Hogg Hammock. Although Hogg Hummock faces mounting threats of development, rising property taxes and climate change, our mission is to work alongside SICARS to cultivate sugarcane, as well as other heritage crops, with the intention of producing the economic means necessary to strengthening community resilience and preserving the land and culture that is so closely tied to it.
Tags: Gullah-Geechee culture, Heritage crops, purple ribbon sugarcane, Sapelo Island, SICARS