Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stalks in the City

One of the trendiest environmental movements is urban farming.

This movement seeks to take vacant or otherwise blighted city properties and use them to grow vegetables and raise livestock.

It helps neighborhoods by cleaning up debris and hazardous materials and creating much needed green space. It helps the environment because less food would need to be trucked in from far off rural areas. And it makes fresh produce more available to poorer city dwellers.

The new attention to urban farming is just one more instance of how advanced Azorean immigrants are. They have been cultivating urban lots since they first arrived in this country over 100 years ago.

When I was growing up in Taunton, every yard had rows of vegetables planted around the patio. In fact, a house in my neighborhood was more likely to have a grape vine than central heat. And when I moved to a much more densely developed neighborhood in Fall River some twenty-five years later, we were just as likely to be awakened in the early morning by a rooster crowing as by a car alarm going off.

I have no doubt that a close study of Azorean immigrant culture would reveal even more practices that could find their way to the cutting edge of sustainable development technologies.

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