My work in the garden today involved thinning out the radish sprouts! I collected the ones who did not make the cut and am going to use them in salads!
I love urban farming, urban gardening, organic gardening, community gardening, any gardening, really. Gardens, especially ones grown with the spirit of community building and getting food to people who need it, are one of those things in life that just make my heart swell until it feels near bursting.
But the media is ruining it, as the media does. Profiles of “hip, young urban farmers” make it seem as if all gardening initiatives are the mindfruit of white people. Not just white people, even, but twentysomething women with long, slightly mussed hair and a “quirky” propensity for rolled up overalls and dirt smudged cheeks. This annoys me*.
This annoys me because it transforms those women and what they are doing into a product and a photo spread. It turns their real passion into just another commodity and it trivializes their skills, their entrepreneurship and their hard, physical work.
It annoys me because it silences and makes invisible an entire portion of the Food Justice Movement (TM). The media does not need to propagate more images of White People Doing Good Things For the World. There is enough of that.
I understand that in a media climate where “kinfolking” has become rampant, the images and stories of hip, educated, urban young people doing home-y, back-to-basics, nostalgic and ”simple” things are the ones that sell. Tumblr is a haven for these images- they make us sigh deeply and say “If only I could live the *simple* life!”
But social change is not simple and it does not happen solely at the hands of white people and it does not happen simply by putting on the outfit and holding a bunch of carrots. Every single woman in every single “urban farmer” portrait knows this, because when the photoshoot ends, she goes back to the physical work of her “hip, urban lifestyle”.
And so do hundreds of others who do not fit her mold, but are irreplaceable in the movement she is a part of. The Food Movement (TM) is diverse, and white-washing it in the media does nothing to celebrate its potential for real change or promote its aims. Please, please don’t believe what they are selling you.
* and it annoys me largely because I see myself buying into it.
Chuck Palahniuk (via talisman)
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. […]
More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.