Image credit: Chow
I find myself increasingly taken with the term "urban farming". From the awesome permaculture allotment of Mike Feingold to the Carrboro Urban Farm Tour to the urban aquaponics of Growing Power, these pioneers can't be described as gardeners. They are growing serious amounts of food for themselves and their fellow human beings. They are farmers. I've just come across a video that provides an inspiring illustration of the importance of urban farmers, not just in growing food, but in revitalizing traumatized neighborhoods and reinventing the urban landscape. (Warning, there is some graphic footage of animal slaughter!) The food obsessives at Chow put together a short video detailing the urban farming exploits of Novella Carpenter who raises bees, chickens, rabbits and fresh organic veggies on an abandoned city block in West Oakland. Her neighborhood is somewhat troubled by drugs, poverty and crime, but Novella says that this anarchy also provides opportunity. Whose going to call the cops about a lady raising pigs, when there are bigger things to worry about?
And while the vegans among us aren't likely to love the footage of backyard slaughter of turkeys and rabbits, or the production of traditional meat dishes like pig's head sopressata, it seems hard to argue with the fact that this is a huge step forward in terms of animal welfare compared to the horrors of industrial hatcheries or The Meatrix.
The video does start with a commercial - but trust me, it's worth sitting through.