January 31, 2011
At the Community Land Trust, a lot of the gardeners we work with are Hmong refugees, or the children of Hmong refugees, who came to Rhode Island from Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam to escape the violence of that war-torn region. Here in Providence, they are preserving their farming heritage and culinary traditions by growing food in our community gardens as well as in their backyards. Many of their plants were started from seeds they brought over with them when they immigrated; the fact that they preserved and carried these seeds shows just how important farming is to the Hmong identity and community. In planting familiar homeland vegetables and herbs like bok choy, cilantro, scallions, and hot peppers, they were able to literally put down roots in a new country.
We deeply respect these gardeners, and that’s why we were so glad to read this recent article by Pha Lo on Salon.com. Lo’s parents were Hmong refugees from Laos that practiced urban farming—including raising chickens—in Sacramento out of economic necessity, before it was cool. “Before hipsters got rooftop gardens, my poor, refugee family ate that way because we had to,” she writes. We hope you’ll enjoy reading her reflective essay about the frustrations and joys of growing up in a low-income family that grew food in the inner city. It may have set Lo apart from other kids her age at the time, but it also enabled her to stay connected to her culture.
Thanks to Renata Christen, a previous AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at SCLT, for bringing this story to our attention via our Facebook page.
January 26, 2011
January 21, 2011
Check out our new 30th anniversary page, www.southsideclt.org/30years, where you’ll find a schedule of some of the events taking place this year. They include an exhibit on urban agriculture and city planning and the Urban Agriculture Spring Kickoff next month, the 19th annual plant sale in May, and an SCLT birthday party and bring-your-own family picnic out at Urban Edge Farm in July. In September, SCLT will host a big 30th reunion weekend with an open garden day followed by the Downtown Hoedown! We hope these events will provide opportunities for everyone connected with the organization to come together and celebrate food-growing in Providence—and explore the enormous potential that still exists in the city. Mark your calendars, and let’s make this a great year!
January 13, 2011
It’s 2011, and Southside Community Land Trust is officially celebrating its 30th year of helping people grow food in Providence! We hope you’ll join us in making this a very special anniversary year for the organization. We have a number of events planned to commemorate our history and look forward to the future of urban agriculture, and we’ll be telling you more about them in the coming weeks and months.
Indeed, our recent blog hibernation notwithstanding, we’ve been very busy over here at SCLT these past few weeks. Despite the foot-deep blanket of snow on the ground right now, we’re already thinking about the growing season and cooking up a bunch of activities for 2011. We’re in the midst of organizing the Urban Agriculture Spring Kickoff, which will take place February 26th at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center and feature a seed swap and workshops. We’re also finalizing the lineup of programs for the 2011 Plant Providence calendar. Make plans to come to the kickoff and be one of the first to receive a copy! Stay tuned—more details to come!