Farm City

The Farm City excerpt seemed to mirror the Black Food Geographies concept of self-reliance, but rather than being (primarily) racially motivated, this work seemed to stem from the idea of bringing more cultural experiences (i.e. the “hippie” lifestyle passed down to Carpenter from her parents) to areas that were less conventional to such styles. This is demonstrated through Novella Carpenter and her boyfriend’s implementation of a garden in the ghettos of Oakland, California in conjunction with their raising of chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys within their home. Carpenter describes her life as the daughter of farmers and how she recalls watching her parents butcher birds to eat. The subsequent chapters then go on to explain how, on the contrary to her parents, she decides to bring this technique to the city. Carpenter emphasizes in her book the theme of community within her book, which, unlike Black Food Geographies in which the population is united under their oppression and lack of access to adequate food, is a collection of many different types of people of varying levels of fortune, race, gender, age, financial stability, etc. In this book, conscious decision to live a simple life is demonstrated more so than being forced to do so as a result of discrimination or financial hardship (in the case of Ms. Carpenter, not necessarily her neighbors). Through this book, we see the idea of ‘gardening’ and the food it produces as holding different meanings to different people. There are the homeless citizens who rely on her garden for sustenance, but also the young man who was reminded of his grandma by the garden, are more emotional service. While detailing the struggles and triumphs her and her boyfriend went through to start and maintain the GhostTown Garden/Farm, as well as the friends they made and people they encountered, Carpenter represents the community and unique thought that go into creating something bigger than just yourself.

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