Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Youth and Border Gardens

From ace reporter Kent Patterson welcomed news that counters the masters' narrative of border violence. By now it remains clear that violence on the nation's southernmost geographical border is skewed in the media. In fact local groups are rejecting the media firestorm that proclaims the border a zone of violence. The attendant result has increasingly witnessed the ongoing militarization of the border with criticism directed at skewed and hyped up media reports infrequently published. In reality local reports show that the border is not as violent as the media and others would have us believe. So it was a welcomed respite to see a column on something of value as opposed to the daily reactionary stream of those that seek to control the dominant narrative of culture, life and economics in the nation's border regions.

Specifically, Kent's recent post focused on the Vado, New Mexico community gardens that are packed with chiles, tomatoes, eggplant and sunflowers. Trees, herbs, fruits and potted plants are also grown locally. Vado joins other low income communities that are scattered throughout the region. The payoff of this particular garden is that it is operated primarily by young students who then sell their plants every Saturday at a local farmer's market located behind the Desert Crossing Restaurant.

A further benefit for the students goes beyond cultivating, harvesting and selling their commodities. The program that sponsors the young students also teaches them money management such as operating costs and as the column underscores the students' "blossom." it further allows them to "express community pride as well as the gleanings of future political leadership."

While the Program's success is well established it operates primarily through grants and one hopes for their continued success. The gardens offer not only a counter narrative they also promote food access to healthy alternatives that fall outside dominant food distribution chains. Against the backdrop of today's food safety issues this counter narrative thereby speaks volumes for the value of the gardens and the youth of Vado.

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