Emily Eggleston, 2012 Emerging Interfaces Award recipient:
During World War II, the U.S. government interned more than 110,000 Japanese Americans in 10 remote prison camps. While imprisoned, the Japanese Americans created highly productive ornamental and vegetable gardens in an otherwise barren, semi-arid landscape by drawing on their experiences as farmers in California and on Japanese traditions. Using soil chemistry and archived documents, Eggleston’s research explores one camp’s historic garden sites to understand how those gardening practices influenced the natural and social landscape of the prison. The soil chemistry analysis focuses on elemental nutrients commonly associated with plants and soil modifications for plant growth.
Her hypothesis suggested that through the decomposition of gardens plants and/or fertilizer additions by gardeners, higher amount of soil plant nutrients now exist in historic garden locations. Upon testing the hypotheses, there are several nutrients that exist in higher quantities in historic garden locations when compared with control sites. The soil investigation will be complemented by the archival research findings, which contextualize the soil analysis to more deeply understand the meaning of these gardens within a prison landscape.