Civic Agriculture: How community food production ties into community development –Emma Robinson

(Presentation notes, to be explained in further detail in-class)

Effects of Community Gardens on Neighborhoods:

Low cost, nutrient rich food. Food literacy. Property value improvement. Green space (mental and physical health). Possible crime reduction.

‘Like any other type of community development project, there is ample potential for a garden to be top-down, driven by the prioties of out side do gooders…’ – Payne & Fryman

Potential: 

Civic connection, engagement, and improvement.

Civic Agriculture

Source: Urban Garden Casual

“…sustainable agriculture could be seen as a logical antecedent to civic agriculture. The term ‘ civic agriculture ‘ captures the problem-solving foundations of sustainable agriculture. But civic agriculture goes further by referencing the emergence and growth of community-based agriculture and food production activities that not only meet consumer demands for fresh, safe, and locally produces foods but create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship, and strengthen community identity.” – Lyson

Source: pv4j.org

” … a sense of place and embodied work in a place are essential elements of civic agriculture and civic engagement. It is in literally feeling the “res publica” and in our individual and sweaty sacrifices to it that we begin to inhabit places in any deep and collective way. This sense of belonging, of “we-ness” and community, comes far less from choice than it does from necessity” – DeLind; 2002

Casitas

source: nyforklore.org

Before Rincon Criollo was created, its site also needed to be saved; the lot was filled with abandoned cars and garbage, another victim of the widespread disinvestment and rampant arson in the South Bronx in the late 1960s. In the 1970s, José Manuel “Chema” Soto and some friends cleared enough space for some folding chairs. While sitting by a bonfire there, Soto looked around and saw Puerto Rico. They cleared the lot, planted a small garden, and built a casita, or “little house” reminiscent of the wood farmhouses scattered through the Puerto Rican countryside. The neighborhood flocked to the site. Today, this is one of the oldest community gardens and casitas in the South Bronx, serving close to 300 members…

Rincon Criollo is also a testament to Jacobs’ “eyes on the street.” It is a haven for neighborhood children and senior citizens and a deterrent to street crime (cars belonging to the local police precinct are regularly parked next door, with the tacit understanding that they will be monitored by the nearly always-crowded casita).

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