Historicizing anti-racist interventions into urban farming: A preliminary framework for conducting a historical geography of food growing and race in Philadelphia

Authors: Rebecca Croog*, Temple University
Topics: Historical Geography, Urban Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: urban agriculture, historical geography, race
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Rampart, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

On March 4th, 2017, a coalition of urban farmers called Soil Generation began an anti-racism training by stating that “all of this work and all of injustice is rooted in the land.” Soil Generation’s training was geared toward white urban farmers working in Philadelphia, a majority-Black and notably segregated city, and reflects broader tendencies in urban farming activism and research to address racial disparities in both the dominant urban food system and the movements working to transform such systems (e.g. Hoover, 2013; Passidomo, 2014; Reynolds, 2015; Roman-Alcalá, 2016). This paper presents a rationale and preliminary framework for utilizing a historical geography approach to both contextualize and contribute to these recent critiques of urban agriculture’s “overwhelming whiteness.” It looks at the case of Philadelphia in particular and asks, what historical trends and factors have prompted anti-racist interventions and practices in Philadelphia's urban farming movement today? While there have been some historical geographies of food growing in cities, there is yet to be a comprehensive historical analysis of food growing in Philadelphia that seeks to understand current racial disparities and anti-racist interventions.

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