In case it’s escaped your attention, urban agriculture is rising steadily in popularity.
In the U.S., citified agricultural centers, ranging in size from small rooftop gardens to entire city blocks, are revolutionizing the way we think about farming. Urban Ag is spreading like wildfire; in fact, some might say it’s experiencing a renaissance. Sustainable communities across the nation are participating in these city wide agrarian happenings, and filmmakers are taking notice.
A Community of Gardeners, a new, 60 minute documentary produced by independent filmmaker Cintia Cabib, investigates the critical role of seven community gardens in Washington, D.C. as sources of fresh, nutritious food, outdoor classrooms, links to immigrant homelands, places of healing, centers of social interaction and oases of beauty and calm in inner-city neighborhoods. The film also traces the history of community gardens in the United States, from the potato patch farms of the late 19th century, to the Victory Gardens of World War II, to community gardening’s current resurgence.
The timing couldn’t be better for such a film.
Faced with an impending food crisis, Urban America is literally planting the solution. With continually soaring food prices, metro farm programs not only help to substantially feed citizens, they also boost local income and microeconomic systems. These city-based agricultural ventures are gaining acclaim as a blueprint to correct fundamental public health care issues, educate underrepresented populations, and provide opportunities for job training and economic development.
A Community of Gardeners thoughtfully documents the people who grow fruit, vegetables and flowers at seven diverse community gardens in Washington, D.C.. More importantly, it shows how these green spaces are radically transforming lives, communities and environment. The film depicts the movement of several community gardens through the unique, and sometimes bittersweet, stories of it’s gardeners in an appropriately touching, candid, and earnest manner. It successfully explores the grassroots connection to an historically strong and vibrant tradition. For many, a lasting paradox of the American landscape is the very real threat of hunger. The urban community gardeners in and around Washington D.C play an imperative role in combating this threat.
And they are having the time of their lives doing it.
A garden can provide a wealth of social interaction opportunities; these diverse centers celebrate this by growing nourishing food, creating sanctuaries, and the occasional outdoor learning mecca for the nature enthusiast. Among the gardens featured in the film is the 7th Street Garden (later renamed Common Good City Farm) where low-income residents work in the garden in exchange for fresh produce; the Fort Stevens Community Garden, a multicultural garden tended by African, Caribbean, Latin American, and African American gardeners; the C. Melvin Sharpe Health School Garden, where students with special needs work in a handicapped-accessible garden; and the Washington Youth Garden, where children and their parents adopt a garden plot and grow food throughout the spring and summer.
COG first premiered at the 2011 Environmental Film Festival in D.C., and continues to receive stellar reviews. The film is currently being distributed to academic institutions, libraries, non-profit organizations, community groups, government agencies, businesses, and individuals.