Sustainable food in an urban environment

Urban Farming: Where sidewalk meets soil

BRISTOL, RI __ Over the duration of the spring 2015 semester, I set out to meet city dwellers committed to agriculture. My search brought me to a young urban farmer in Providence, RI. Laura Brown-Lavoie is a 27-year-old farmer who has dedicated her livelihood to growing her own food and providing fresh produce in a setting that is not widely recognized as farm-friendly.

I spent time with Brown-Lavoie to get to know the process of bringing life to a garden in an environment that is continuously overlooked as a place for agriculture. It all started with the beginning stages of the seeding process in a makeshift growing box that was located in Brown-Lavoie’s one bedroom apartment in Providence. I took a camera with me to capture the essence of Brown-Lavoie’s commitment to agriculture and closeness to her food.

Weeks later, after Rhode Island melted its way out of its second snowiest winter on record, Brown-Lavoie and a few other farmers arrived ready to clean up their planting site on the east side of Providence. I was there to capture the first day of preparation at the headquarters of Sidewalk Ends Farm.

Situated on a plot of land between the busy streets of Providence, Sidewalk Ends Farm breaks the block of cityscape with a lively garden.  This neighborhood garden not only acts as a growing point for the city, it also provides a meeting place for the community to be in touch with the environment and get connected to their food.

This video shows a place where sidewalk meets soil. Brown-Lavoie represents one of the many urban farmers who overcomes the limits of their surroundings. The video exhibits a greener side to all of the pavement and structure of a cityscape. Above all, the package discloses a thriving side of Providence that shows it its possible to produce sustainable food that tastes good and enhances the nutritional security of the city as a whole.

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