Subversive and interstitial food spaces: transforming selves, societies, and society–environment relations through urban agriculture and foraging

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Taylor & Francis


By way of introduction, we turn to an excerpt from Ryan Galt’s field notes from a field trip taken by his undergraduate food systems classin November 2012: In a neighborhood park in Oakland, in the East San Francisco Bay Area of California, we stand waiting for Max, a member of Phat Beets Produce, a collective of people dedicated to promoting food and social justice through food provisioning, activism, organizing, and popular education. Max shows up, has us identify ourselves and tell everyone our favorite band and a favorite vegetable that starts with the same letter. He then explains to us the historical origins of the Black Panther Party in the neighborhood, their role in creating what is now the nationwide school lunch program, and how some of the current efforts of the collective are aimed in part at creating a cultivated landscape that is literally carved out of the city park’s former lawns of Bermuda grass. This example of “guerrilla gardening”includes diverse vegetable beds, an area for compost, and planting fruit-producing (not just ornamental) trees that community members harvest.