Raymond’s Brain: My Baachan #31, Sugar Beets

A personal history by Raymond Nakamura

Some families moved to the prairies to work on Sugar Beet Farms. This was when sugar beets were an important source of sugar. The Ministry of Labour used the relocation of Nikkei as an opportunity to exploit cheap labour. Some families chose this option because it allowed them to stay together. But the work was hard, the winters cold, and the accommodations paltry, sometimes little more than converted chicken coops. This drawing is based on a 1944 photo in Manitoba (NNM 2010.23.2.4.139).

Landscape architect Kelty Miyoshi McKinnon has created a zen garden from sugar as part of an exploration of this history, which profoundly affected her family as an exhibit called Beta vulgaris (the scientific name for sugar beets) at the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby BC from Feb 10 to May 27 2018.

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Republished from Raymond’s Brain.

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