Acadians - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Until the late nineteenth century, rural Acadian communities had a Subsistence economy based on a combination of mixed farming, fishing, and forestry. The development of the commercial fishery, and particularly the lobster industry, brought a modest revenue to rural Acadians beginning in the 1880s. Similarly, the development of the forest industry permitted Acadians to earn money cutting wood during the winter, when farming and fishing activities had ceased. In inland areas, where subsistence agriculture was the main activity, cutting wood in remote lumber camps during the winter provided the only source of cash income. After World War II, subsistence agriculture ceased and the more marginal inland Communities became depopulated. In some areas, successful commercial farming has been developed, the main crop being potatoes. An important dairy industry also now exists. The relative success of commercial fishing and farming has prevented massive depopulation in rural areas, although a tendency to move to industrial centers outside the region has existed since the late nineteenth century and still continues.

The traditional diet of Acadians consisted of salt pork, salt fish, wild game (deer, moose, and rabbit), and a limited amount of vegetables such as potatoes, turnips, carrots, and string beans, as well as tea, bread, and molasses. Products such as tea, flour, sugar, and molasses were obtained from local stores and were often bartered for such farm products as butter and eggs.

Industrial Arts. Weaving and knitting are important craft activities for women. Colorful hooked rugs have been produced in large quantities since the early twentieth century, when traveling merchants began yearly trips to Acadian Communities in order to exchange manufactured goods for rugs. Today, rugs and hand-woven goods are sold primarily through craft outlets.

Trade. Since the Great Depression, when many Acadians found themselves indebted to local merchants, the Cooperative movement has had a strong following. Consumer coops are found throughout Acadia, and many people also belong to producer coops, marketing such diverse products as Children's clothing, potato chips, and frozen fish.

Division of Labor. Traditionally, men tended to leave their homes in order to engage in seasonal activities such as lumbering and fishing while the women carried out not only work activities in the home but also much of the farm work. Most women now seek salaried employment outside the home to contribute to the domestic economy, but in farm households women still tend to participate actively in agricultural work.

Land Tenure. Land is privately held, although large tracts of land in the wooded interior are government-owned Crown Lands that may be leased for forest exploitation. Most Acadians tend to be small landowners, and even in cities private ownership of dwellings, rather than renting, is the norm.

Also read article about Acadians from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: