In my work as a studio facilitator at Archeworks this year, our partner was Growing Power, a large urban farm that began in Milwaukee and has since developed a large presence in Chicago. Growing Power's mission is to support people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power implements this mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.
|My new garden bed|
They are truly an extraordinary organization and partner. They set ambitious goals and it is apparent from their fully realized farm in Milwaukee that they are able to deliver pragmatic, easily replicable solutions to the challenges of urban farming. We will be partnered with Growing Power again next year and are honored to be presenting at (as well as participating in) the National Growing Power Conference this fall.
In considering the coming year the other studio facilitator and I have been preparing readings and considering the most critical contextual information to provide to the incoming students. As a result I've found myself reading about agriculture and its modern state. In one Essay entitled "The Whole Horse" by Wendall Berry, he writes, "We currently live in the economy of culture of the 'one-night stand.' Industrialism has provided us innumerable commodities, amusements, and distractions, but these offer us little satisfaction. Instead we suffer ever-increasing alienation form our families, our communities, and the natural world. There is another way to live and think: it's called agrarianism. It is not so much a philosophy as a practice, and attitude, a loyalty; and a passion--all based in a close connection with the land. It results in a sound local economy in which producers and consumers are neighbors and in which nature herself becomes the standard for work and production."
I find myself with a strong desire to take those words to heart this summer, in small ways I hope to live with a closer connection to the land. With that in mind I spent most of memorial day weekend preparing my small (2'x24') plot for a garden. I'm hoping to make a much more intentional effort at purchasing produce, dairy, and other goods from the farmer's markets and other local sources in the coming months, considering in an intentional way the implications of my purchases. I'll write more about my efforts at meaningful connection to community and natural world through the summer.