"Hipster" Farmers Are Doing Nothing New (Video)
Image credit: The Perennial Plate
We've posted before about the work of Greg Willerer of Brother Nature Farm in a rundown part of Detroit, and we know that urban farming is not just a nice idea—growing food in our cities is playing a crucial role in feeding the hungry and ensuring community resilience in the face of a crappy economy. Now we get to visit Brother Nature Farm once again, this time courtesy of Daniel and Mirra of The Perennial Plate. We get a slightly different take on "hipster" urban farmers, and we get to hear about Brother Nature's latest business venture too.
As usual, Daniel and Mirra manage to move the conversation from light-hearted banter about love to the deeply important questions about what the role of urban farming really is. Whether it's the practical look at Brother Nature's new business venture—neighborhood-scale composting—or Olivia's rather pointed observation that Detroit residents have always been urban farmers, yet it was only when hipsters came in drawing attention to it that money started flowing, this video is yet again a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate.
And while it might be tempting to read Olivia's comment as an anti-hipster jibe (the term "hipster" does seem to be used pejoratively these days), I see it more as a truthful observation that doesn't discredit what newcomers are doing to rally support—but rather asks why that support (and, more importantly, respect) wasn't forthcoming sooner.
Whether it's suburban families uprooting themselves to take up urban farming, or well-meaning non-profits exploring positive child labor, there are many good groups that are nurturing and supporting urban food growing. But let's not fall into the trap of assuming that assistance must come from the outside of a particular community. Often the people who know the most about urban farming are those who have been doing it for years already.
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