Cultivating Community: Black Agrarianism in Cleveland, Ohio
In this article, we present the voices of African American urban gardeners in Cleveland, Ohio, a city in the Rust Belt. We draw attention to the history of a rich neighborhood life following the Great Migration that was grounded in political activism and mutual support. We focus on the gardener's visions of thriving, self-reliant African American communities and the desire to rebuild soil, neighborhoods, and economies. The central values articulated include hospitality, empowerment, and giving back, values that are grounded in the history and current practice of community organizing. We critique the mainstream tendency to label black bodies and African American communities as pathological, and instead argue for recognizing the skills and abilities of African American gardeners to cultivate community—that is, to build and strengthen the social, political, economic, and cultural fabric of neighborhoods.
Fiskio, Janet, Md Rumi Shammin, and Vel Scott. 2016. “Cultivating Community: Black Agrarianism in Cleveland, Ohio.” In Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies 16(2): 18-30.
University of California Press
Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies
Black agrarianism, Urban gardening, Rust Belt, Great Migration, Food justice, Sustainable community development, Culturally relevant food