Detroit Black Community Food Security Network’s Growing Determination
For Malik Yakini, urban farming means pride and self-determination
Published: October 2, 2013
I’ve been an activist all my adult life, and often meetings are more talk than results. But what I like about food is the relationship between the effort you put in and what you reap. There can be disasters like storms or frosts, but generally you see a direct relationship between the effort and the fruit borne. I may not be doing a whole lot of marching, but I am doing a lot of planting and cultivating seeds.
MT: How about the idea that urban farming is going to “save” Detroit?
Yakini: [laughs] We don’t think that planting kale is going to save Detroit. We have a myriad of challenges, and the food-related challenges fit within this larger context, but what we do think is the pride people feel when they’re beginning to grow food and exert control over food systems, that pride lights a fire inside that reignites our understanding of our own capacity to shape our lives and our communities.
Our current food system convinces people that we don’t have the capacity to shape our own lives — that that’s the province of the corporations and the government. We’ve ceded that to what we see as more powerful forces. But our work reaffirms that we can, through our own efforts, begin to provide things for ourselves. It’s our hope that this transfers to other areas of life. Maybe we can produce clothes, tools, schools for our children. It gives us a sense of our own agency, self-determination, the capability to shape our own reality.
Michael Jackman is managing editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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