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4-H Promotion Compendium: 4-H Fruit Clubs Initiated With A Flurry Of Nationwide Support

A National Compendium of 4-H Promotion and Visibility over the Past Century

4-H Fruit Clubs Initiated With A Flurry Of Nationwide Support

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During the Mid-West Horticultural Exposition held in Des Moines, Iowa in December 1918, the fruit growers, members of college Extension staffs and others, met at the offices of Successful Farming magazine for a day's conference on horticultural matters.

At that meeting there was a good deal of discussion regarding boys' and girls' fruit clubs, and before the day ended those present decided to inaugurate boys' and girls' fruit clubs throughout the country. For a decade there had been corn clubs, cotton clubs, pig clubs, tomato clubs, canning clubs, and other specialty clubs for rural boys and girls… so why not fruit clubs? A committee of 10 was appointed representing the farm magazine and newspaper publishers, nursery interests, spray manufacturers, college men, producers and two state club leaders (to be added later). E. N. Hopkins, with Meredith Publishing, director of boys' and girls' club work for the Successful Farming magazine, was made chairman of the committee. Some of the other members included Samuel Adams of Chicago; Mrs. Nora Dunlap of Savoy, Illinois and Cyrus Harvey of Altoona, Iowa, representing producers and growers; college men, V. C. Holsinger of Ames, Iowa, and C. L. Burkholder of Lafayette, Indiana; H. C. Lisle of Hudson, Michigan and E. H. Favor of Galva, Illinois, representing manufacturers of spraying machinery; and nurserymen, P. C. Stark of Louisiana, Missouri and Earl D. Needham of Des Moines, Iowa.

During that first year the committee gathered up as much information as they could find about boys' and girls' fruit clubs. They developed a draft plan for each state which recommended that whatever was undertaken would be along practical lines and have the supervision of the state and county club leaders of the various states. Parents were encouraged to support their children by turning over 10 trees to the boys and girls, and to help them get started with some bush fruits and strawberry plants. The committee was also exploring a competition and awards system to support the young members of fruit clubs. (from January 1919 issue of Junior Soldiers of the Soil)

Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.

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