Urban farms taking root
Malik Yakini, chair of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, at D-Town Farm. Photo by Catherine Porter.
Organic farming meeting learns communities can grow with good food
By Cathy Woodruff
The Times Unbion
January 23, 2011
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Urban agriculture is about more than growing food, and growing food is about a lot more than farming and gardening, the leader of a Detroit coalition told a statewide organic farming conference on Saturday.
“We’re not just growing food. We are growing communities as well,” said Malik Yakini, who chairs the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. “We’re a post-industrial city that is struggling to find its way,” and “urban agriculture is playing a role in that.”
In a keynote address that touched on issues of African-American culture and psychology, race relations and merchant-to-customer courtesy, Yakini drew enthusiastic applause from a mostly white crowd of several hundred members of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York.
The three-day conference, with the theme “Diggin’ Diversity,” drew more-than 1,200 to the Saratoga Hilton and City Center, making the 29th annual organic farming and gardening conference the largest ever for the organization, NOFA-NY Executive Director Kate Mendenhall said.