Urban gardening, or as some call it, urban farming is taking root in low-income areas across Chicago, as green plots spring up on the thousands of acres of vacant lots that dot the South and the West Sides. And with it come skills, revenue and a greater sense of community.
The growth of urban agriculture across Chicago was one of the subjects discussed on the Aug. 23 “The Barber Shop Show.” The guests were Cassandra West, founding editor of the urban agriculture blog Seeding Chicago and web editor for The Chicago Reporter, and Naomi Davis, self-professed green activist and organizer with the West Woodlawn Botanic Garden & Village Farm.
Davis, the granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers, says urban farming can be both “a symbol for resurgence,” and in practical terms, “how we can restore our place in the world.” She sees the emergency of poor nutrition in African-American communities as being similar to the nationwide emergency that led to the launch of Victory Gardens during World War II.
Both West and Davis want to see more food-producing gardens across the city. There is, of course, the chance for vandalism or theft, with the vegetables laying out in the open. But, Davis doesn’t see vegetable stealing as a major problem. “If someone wants to steal that vegetable, we want them to have that vegetable.”
Listen to the entire show here: