Earlier today, it was announced that a new initiative is being started in Rochester called Growing Communities. It figures that FoodLink would be behind such an effort. I like it. It’s a good start. That’s right, it’s a good start, but it is not enough.
The problem I have with the idea is it’s a paternalistic kind of help for “underserved” neighborhoods. (That’s code for where the poor folk live…which is code for where the people of color live)
So the folks who are going to run up to this farm stand-on-wheels are going to buy their food using what? Money? EBT? And the money spent goes where? Out of the neighborhood? See where I’m going with this?
When elected, the members of Green Rochester will work to make the vacant land in the underserved neighborhoods into cooperatively-owned, for profit farms. At the same time, work will begin on spurring more cooperatively-owned small businesses that have a mutual reliance on such farms (i.e. grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, hardware stores, etc). Now we have money that starts in the community staying in the community.
Where would the money for this initiative come from? That’s actually the easiest part of all this. The money will come from two places: the fair tax assessment that our new mayor will enact and the changing of the budget to stop spending money on boosting huge projects for out-of-town developers.
So kudos to FoodLink for Growing Communities. Seriously. It really is a good start. I hope there’s funding set up for when the corporate bank’s contribution runs out. But if not, I’m sure that when that money is gone, we can find a local urban farm who could use the truck.