I’ve long been a fan of Earthworks Urban Farm in Detroit, and farm manager Patrick Crouch was my first tour guide there. This charming interview with local urban farmer Edith Floyd encapsulates exactly what led me to cover urban farming in the first place: Normal people, living in neighborhoods, passionate about good food and growing it.
It reminds me of how Gabrielle Hamilton writes about finding a toothless Italian vecchio with his fly open, a farmer selling freshly grown food off the back of a cart, in Blood, Bones and Butter. She disses the sleek, hair-gelled young’uns selling at the fancy farmers market and instead swoons for the old man because he reminds her of:
…A time when we just grew it and cooked it and ate it and didn’t talk so much about it. When we didn’t crow all over town about our artisanal, local, organic fwa fwa. We just went to the farm and bought the milk. (p. 242)
And that’s sort of the weird, unsung link between the foodie world and so many of the people I meet in my reporting: It’s not that people don’t want to eat well, or that they don’t care about our meals. They’d just rather not be expected to base their identity on it, and go to the farm and buy the milk.
This is an inclination, as you can probably tell from my reporting, that I find utterly charming.