The staff of the North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan will be presenting special agricultural interpretive programs Sundays in September at the Headwaters Fort Mandan Visitor Center. Program topics range from Mandan and Hidatsa food preparation and preservation to homesteaders and the rise of farm organizations following World War I.
Amber waves of wheat, durum and barley have long been the lifeblood of North Dakota's agricultural heritage. Today, nearly 90 percent of North Dakota land area is in farms and ranches. Even before the proliferation of these small grains, the Mandan and Hidatsa grew many varieties of corn, beans and squash in the floodplain of the Missouri River. In the late 19th century, Oscar H. Will acquired many hardy seeds from the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, and offered them to the influx of immigrants staking their claim on the plains of North Dakota.
"The story of North Dakota agriculture is one of the many stories we tell at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center," says Kevin Kirkey, interpretive resource manager.
As part of its administration of the North Dakota Centennial Farms program, the Foundation recently installed an interactive kiosk featuring a database of nearly 1,000 farms owned and operated by North Dakota families for at least 100 years.
The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $5.00 for students and free for Foundation members.