Monday, May 19, 2008

the core

Walk through most any Detroit neighborhood, and you can quite easily purchase a soda, a candy bar. But not an apple. For that you need a car, or, the alternative--the time to wait for a bus to the edge of the city to a suburban supermarket.
Easy access to easy food is what we as a nation leave to Detroit and to so many of our inner cities. The cumulative effects of this are manifold--from childhood obesity, to lack of choice, from the loss of a connection to culturally significant foods to an abrogation of the bond between people and place.
Walk a few blocks parallel to the major streets in Detroit and a potential solution to these concerns is visible. Through hard work, residents of many Detroit neighborhoods are answering their concerns through gardens. Breaking rough ground to plant delicate seeds is an act that requires nourishment and nurturing. The fruits (or vegetables) of this willingness to wrestle something fantastic and vital out of what has been left to decay is a creative act that, like other art forms, is often relegated or isolated as a luxury, while in fact it is central to culture.
This direct action--the creation of productive and beautiful fields that provide the nourishment of urban agriculture is not only measured through the crops produced, but the creation of neighborhood gathering places, the transformation from abandonment to visual and cultural plentitude. The problems and its solutions are systemic. The cultural changes that accompany food revolutions can be harvested if they are cultivated from the ground up.

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