From the Holy Trinity to Microgreens: Gentrification Redefining the Local Foodways

Authors: Yuki Kato*, Georgetown University, Pamela Broom*, The Reconciliation Institute, NewCorp, Inc., Sankofa Community Development Corpo
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Urban agriculture, food justice, gentrification, foodways,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Bayside B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Previous scholars have pointed to the ways in which new food places in a gentrifying community redefine the local foodways through establishment of businesses that cater exclusively to the newcomers’ tastes or through valorizing the ethnic or class otherness of long-term residents to attract the gentrifiers. This chapter focuses on gentrification of the foodways in post-Katrina New Orleans, particularly how the new narratives of urban agriculture presented the practice as a new idea, despite the long-standing tradition of local food production and procurement practices in the city. The dominance of urban cultivation activities by the newcomers has redefined who grows and eats locally, both in terms of perception and reality. We begin by presenting the rich history and memory of urban food procurement and local, seasonal culinary practices prior to the 2005 flooding, based on the archival data and interviews with the current and former growers in the city. We then contrast this tradition to the emerging notion of locality that has come to be associated with urban agriculture during the years that followed the disaster. With its emphasis on geographic dimension (e.g., grown locally), the new notion of locality discredits the social and cultural dimensions of the pre-existing local foodways (e.g., native plants grown by the locals). As a result, we argue that the popularity of urban agriculture among the newcomers, albeit well-intended, had adverse effects of discouraging many long-term residents from getting engaged with urban agriculture, keeping them from opportunities such as entrepreneurialism, community health to urban sustainability.

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