posted by Karen, main text by Cristina Martinez-Canton and Joanne Heraty
Here is another story from our Jubilee competition. I found this story fascinating. It tells a tale of immigration, urbanisation and a different style of family farming. Cristina Martinez-Canton wrote this for us:
"I was given the opportunity to document urban agriculture with UC Davis graduate student Joanne Heraty, in the summer of 2008, who was researching maize diversity among immigrant gardens. During the project, we interviewed farmers in homegardens and community gardens in Southern California and discovered that many of these farmers are cultivating seeds native to their homelands, in effect re-inventing culture and food traditions they maintained from their upbringing on rural farms in Mexico. The amount of knowledge these people have about the land is vast and the importance of food, and the comfort of farming their own food, is of immense value.
What we came to discover was that most of these farmers were elderly with children who had no interest in growing food on their own land or tapping the knowledge from their parents. Yet, most surprisingly, we saw a re-emergence of interest in grandchildren who helped their grandparents tend, plant and water the yards. In the children's narratives, we saw pride and honour in being allowed to participate in something so crucial to their household's prosperity.
Many of the families we met live in poverty stricken neighbourhoods like South Central and Compton in Los Angeles, where the closest thing to a grocery store is a mini-mart or a liquor store. The availability of fresh fruit and vegetables in these neighborhoods is poor. By teaching the younger generations traditional farming practices, valuable knowledge of self-sufficiency and food security is being passed on, something you don't often see in metropolitan cities like Los Angeles.
I would like to submit these select photos of my idea of the future of family farming from this project I was involved in. As rural agriculture transforms into the industrial and farmers substitute their farming ways for city jobs, we begin to find more and more urban agriculture. This is my view of the future of family farming: transferring knowledge of traditional cultivation practices from older generations to younger generations allowing them opportunities to continue family traditions of farming even if it must happen in the concrete confines of metropolitan cities."
Photos by Cristina Martinez-Canton.
Research inquiries may be directed to:
Joanne Heraty; firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography inquiries may be directed to:
Cristina Martinez-Canton; email@example.com