George Washington Carver

By: Jasmine Ally and Naseem Shahlaee

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Who is he?

George Washington Carver was a man who worked on improving soils, growing crops with low inputs, and using species that fixed nitrogen as alternative crops to cotton.

What are some of his inventions?

Carver was believed to have discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes.

Some of his most popular inventions would be peanut butter, his healing oils that cured Tuberculosis, and lemon drops.

History (When?)

Born: About 1864 (exact date is unknown)
Died: January 5, 1943

George Washington Carver was born a slave in a small town called Diamond Grove around 1864. He's one of the most famous agricultural scientists. He is best known for his research on peanuts and his commitment to educating poor Southern African farmers on crop rotation.

Carver worked at an institute in Alabama for most of his adult life. In 1943, soon after Carver's death, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made Carver's childhood home a national monument. It was the first national monument to honor an African American.

History (Where?)

African-American educator and agricultural researcher George Washington Carver (1864-1943) grew up in Missouri with the white family that originally kept his mother as a slave. After earning his master’s degree in agriculture from Iowa State College in 1896, he headed the agricultural department at Booker T. Washington’s all-black Tuskegee Institute for nearly 20 years.

Why Crop Rotation?

Crop rotation was one of George Washington Carver's most famous moments in life.

-Crop rotation improves and maintains soil fertility.

- Crop rotation ensures that a sufficient amount of nutrients are accessible to the crops.

-Crop rotation helps control weeds, diseases and pests.

-Crop rotation helps soil to maintain its structure and organic matter levels.

By using these techniques organic farmers not only improve the quality of their crops, but also help in reducing the pollution in our environment and greenhouse gases.

How did he help farmers?

Farmers would plant cotton over and over again until the soil became depleted of nutrients, and ruin the crops.

He found solutions to restore nutrients to the soil by rotating crops, and use peanuts and soybeans.

Pros and Cons of Crop Rotation

The primary advantages of crop rotation include preserving fertile soil, enhancing the health of crops and minimizing the amount of pests, while the primary drawbacks and challenges include lingering fungi and pests. Another major drawback is the time involved in preparing the soil for new crops.

Certain insects and pests feed on different types of crops. By rotating crops, a person removes the food resource preferred by one pest. Therefore, that particular pest eventually dies. It is also less likely that pest populations build up. A reduction in the pest population improves the quality of the soil and mitigates the amount of crops that are destroyed each season. Rich soil and healthy plants also contribute to fewer weeds. Fewer weeds and stronger plants minimize the amount of chemicals needed to grow crops.

Rotating crops often requires more time in preparing fields for crops ahead of rotations. This point is especially true when rotating every two years instead of every three to four years. Also, the fungi and pests left behind from a previous crop can potentially harm the new crop. Some crops coexist better with weeds and fungi, and a new crop may have a more difficult time. Plant debris can also cause diseases when the new crop is planted.

The Peanut Man

Carver invented all kinds of things made out of peanuts. He wrote down more than 300 uses for peanuts, including peanut milk, peanut paper, and peanut soap. Carver thought that if farmers started making things out of peanuts, they'd have to buy fewer things and would be more self-sufficient. And if other people started making things out of peanuts, they would want to buy the extra peanuts, so the farmers would make more money. Although not many of Carver's peanut products were ever mass-produced, he did help spread the word about peanuts.


George Washington Carver was a prominent American scientist and inventor in the early 1900s. Carver developed hundreds of products using the peanut, sweet potatoes and soybeans. He also was a champion of crop rotation and agricultural education. Born into slavery, today he is an icon of American ingenuity and the transformative potential of education.