October 19, 2010

Urban Garden Movement in Richmond, CA Turns Vacant Lots Into Food


Richmond, California is one of those East Bay towns that can be sore on the eyes. Industry has left, and crime is an issue, but citizens have found a unique way to beautify and feed this economically depressed region by taking over vacant lots and turning them into gardens. Truthout explains:
Once a month, Latino and African American families-often people who live just a few blocks from each other but rarely had a chance to meet in the past-gather at the garden and have a barbecue. Tomatoes, chard, and corn grow in raised beds across the street. Muslim families from the local mosque just a few blocks away pluck fresh mint from the garden for making traditional Arabic tea. The garden is the work of Urban Tilth, one of the dozen or so groups at the center of Richmond's urban garden movement. It was built by community members, often young people, and is tended in part by students and teachers from the elementary school next door. And it has become a community gathering space...

People rarely get a say in what happens to land when their city falls apart. But in the last five years, some Richmonders have taken matters into their own hands. Often with official permission but sometimes without, they have planted more than two dozen gardens in public lots and school grounds all over the roughest parts of town. Urban Tilth calls them "farms," and last year grew 6,000 pounds of food, which went to dozens of local families.

This is an amazing story that should be replicated across the country. From upscale neighborhoods to ghettos, urban gardening brings communities together, reduces crime, and provides healthy local food.

Photo:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by anarchosyn

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at October 19, 2010 2:50 AM

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