Letter: Let Southside Community Farm thrive

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[Regarding “Uprooted? Community Members Fight for the Future of Southside’s Urban Farm,” May 8, Xpress:]

In a time when local food is essential, a discussion about growing food or paving the land for a playground is senseless.

It takes a time for trees to grow and thrive. Fruit trees require specific care and devotion. Disrupting trees when they are a source for regeneration indicates a disconnect to life and nature.

Kudos to the beautiful people successfully stewarding the land. When you are intimate with growing food, you understand the depth and wisdom of nature. How nature freely gives. Not just fruit, but look at all those seeds. Maybe Housing Authority of the City of Asheville CEO and President Monique Pierre has a few things to learn. Disrupting a piece of land that represents life is risky.

True, children need to get offline and outside to play and socialize. Wouldn’t it be nice if the children were encouraged to get exercise by getting their hands in the soil, weeding and planting, and harvesting food? Witnessing a tiny seed grow into food can forever change the trajectory of a child’s life.

Let’s not forget that growing food is a labor of love. We need more love for nature, more food abundance, more heart in decision making and less concrete. Let Southside Community Farm thrive — and don’t look back.

— Tricia Collins


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5 thoughts on “Letter: Let Southside Community Farm thrive

  1. Robert McGee

    Soil and community are connected in many ways. Each requires consistent effort over time. There are few shortcuts. The impacts are often multifaceted and immeasurable. I encourage those who will decide to read up on Blue Zones and listen to those who have invested time and sweat equity.

  2. Voirdire

    The Housing Authority of Asheville has told the Southside Community Farm that they must vacate the property by the end of the year so they can build their 200k playground. This is a complete travesty …complete. Make sure to hold those responsible for this to account …. starting with Monique Pierre, president and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville and the HACA Board; along with the mayor and the City Manager who appointed her/them.

  3. Voirdire

    The Housing Authority [HACA] has told the Southside Community Farm that they need to vacate the property by the end of the year so that their 200k playground can be built. This is a complete travesty…. complete. Those responsible for this extremely short sighted decision should be held accountable…. from the top down. ( and yeah, $200,000 for a playground …wow, those are going to be some very well paid consultants and designers …it’s called pork, plain and simple)

  4. Mike Rains

    I believe that a playground for the disadvantaged children of this area is a higher priority for our society, all things considered. A place for these kids to play, let off steam, and get some good physical activity; just as a kid like me (and probably most older readers) was blessed to be able to to do, many years back. My understanding is such a local playground does not currently exist.

    I do agree it is hard for the garden to be lost; that too is a beneficial to the community, but to the older set. People that have suggested that the children could be more involved with the garden miss the point: The playground gives them unstructured, physical activity. The garden would not.

    A compromise of perhaps 1/4 garden, 3/4 playground might be considered, but I have not reviewed the feasibilty of such a plan and don’t know whether it has been considered.

    Regarding the projected cost of the playground, I don’t find that excessive. The recent new playground at Jones elementary was $400K. Please understand, no one builds the playgrounds of yore (you know where a child might get a splinter or scrape their knee like we did). Just like everything else in this country, playground equipment has literally been made into a big money making industry through excessive regulations (promtoed by lobbiest from the industry) and helicopter parenting.

    While I don’t know much about Monique Pierre, president of AHA, I do like the fact that she is working to greatly increase the security of the public housing complexes by funding additional police precence there with off duty officers. These communities have continued to suffer from gun violence that is directly experienced by the children growing up there. It seems to me there is no greater priority than providing a violence free environment for these kids, all kids. The prior AHA leader did not take action like this, even when it was proposed.

    All this said, I am not a big fan of the way AHA is structured at the federal level. The name implies linkage to the City of Ashevlle, but that doesn’t really exist. Accoutability (financial and otherwise) is not available to the average citizen and operating information does not seem to exist for general consumption and transparency.

    • Robert McGee

      Mike, you make a good point about the value of unstructured outdoor play. (My younger self preferred throwing footballs to weeding melons.) There’s also great value in structured (and even unstructured) gardening activities, far beyond the value/savings of home-grown produce. Hopefully, our community will begin investing heavily in both of these assets for the mental, physical and sustainable wellbeing of our youth and those who are no longer young. Gardens and playgrounds can and should co-exist. It would be nice to move away from being an ‘either or’ community.

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