DIAMOND, Mo. — Another round of wintertime education and discussion opportunities are being served up at George Washington Carver National Monument during three Coffee With Carver events.
The series of monthly gatherings is intended to connect park visitors to different aspects of Carver's legacy, including art, resourcefulness and nutrition.
Ranger Curtis Gregory said the park has been hosting the series for the past five or six years, but officials like to keep things interesting by branching out into new topics that many guests might have not yet learned about Carver.
"Coffee With Carver is kind of a lecture series, a more in-depth program geared for adult audiences who want to go beyond the basic information of Carver's life and talk about specific subject matters," Gregory said. "The takeaway is to learn something about him beyond (his work with) peanuts. For example, many of our visitors don't know that Carver was an artist."
It's this topic — artistry — that will kick off the season's offering, starting at 10 a.m. Thursday with a deep dive into Carver's artistic passions.
During a presentation and discussion about the ways Carver used art to reexperience the beauty of the natural world, and accompanied by a warm beverage, guests will see images of his artwork. Park volunteer Elizabeth Brooks-Billings is scheduled to teach attendees during a still-life oil pastel workshop.
"The concept for the meetings is always the same," Gregory said. "It's free, they can grab a coffee or tea, and then we always have a short talk about Carver, something that was interesting to him that we want to share with the visitors, followed by some sort of hands-on activity for the guests."
Additional Coffee With Carver events are planned as follows:
• Feb. 20: "The Usefulness of All Things." Guests will learn about the ways Carver found beauty and value in common materials we often overlook and take for granted. A make-and-take session on burlap flowers will follow.
• March 19: "Carver's Bulletins: 'Some Choice Wild Vegetables.'" Discussion will center on Carver's distress upon arriving in the South to learn about the poor nutritional content in the diet of impoverished, share-cropping families. He encouraged them to supplement their meals with nutrient-dense plants readily available for free, using agriculture bulletins and leaflets, examples of which will be on display. Attendees will receive a free tomato plant to begin their spring planting.
1/2 cup peanuts.
1/2 cup cowpeas (also called black-eyed peas),
1/2 cup wheat or rye.
Roast all to a rich coffee brown; grind and make as for postum. To those who like a cereal coffee, this will be quite acceptable, even delicious. To more or less habitual coffee drinkers, one-third or one-half real coffee will make the above recipe more acceptable.
(Postum is a brand of coffee substitute once sold by Post Cereal Co. It's created by roasting and grinding various grains, as in Carver's recipe, and then brewing the powder into a beverage. The drink was marketed as a healthful, caffeine-free alternative to coffee.)
Source: George Washington Carver's agricultural bulletin No. 31: "How to Grow a Peanut," first published in June 1925.