Silent Spring (Not By Rachel Carson)

Planting requires a past, ground that has been worked, enriched and cared for. Seeds are the future. They must be given space, have nourishment and be constantly reminded by what connects us all, mindful watering. Fela Kuti had a song entitled “Water, no get enemy.” Red Skelton used to end his inimitable performances by admitting he needs to be considerate of his enemies, because he made them. This summer will not see a Farmers’ Market in downtown Newark. A vacant lot or parking area could not be found? Was it really that long ago The Newark Advocate ran the series of “investigative reporting” on the food desert in Newark, of the lack of fresh veggies and fruits in most folks diet, of the further lack of incentive to produce/market these without putting a premium on local farmers? Milk comes from a cow, not a plastic jug. The climate change folks call this “carbon footprint’ (grapes from Chile and pineapple from the Philippines. No slow boat for these goodies!). The greenies call this “diversity” rather than monoculture (would you like that corn cob with soybeans or wheat?). The people prepping the soil, planting, nurturing, harvesting and marketing call this the cycle of life. Life is doing. One thing that will not be done this summer is weekly fresh local farm produce within the city center (y’all come downtown now, ya hear!). Oh yeah, the Advocate series coincided with the closing of Meijer up on the north side (still a rather large vacant lot). It also highlighted the future, the community gardens that were being fostered locally with great effort to make the food desert bloom. The absence of a Farmers’ Market marks a break in the cycle.

Another break in the cycle is word that the city intends to capitalize on one of its assets and develop land prepared, nurtured and cultivated as a thriving productive community garden. People, citizens of Newark, had no other reason to gather together than for matters of tilling the soil, enriching it and planting seeds for tomorrow (nothing to buy here). Within the cycle, past is honored, valued because it makes tomorrow, a community of caring/doing. Water, no get enemy. But the city of Newark chooses to follow in the footsteps of America’s mayor, Rudolf Giuliani. “This is a free-market economy – welcome to the era after communism.” he said as he ordered New York’s community gardens destroyed by (who else?) those sentenced by the courts to do community service work. So the gardens must go for development the city is 100% pro, pro River Road, pro Licking Springs, pro Downtown. Never met a developer they didn’t like; including one wanting to utilize the community’s garden spot. Those who yesterday the current administration (and The Advocate) praised and championed as vital, health giving, “positive”, today are looked upon as inconvenient squatters. No surprise there since the precedent was set by demolishing the Children’s Home with its story of prepping, nurturing and cultivation. The efficiency of that economy left absolutely no past, no memory of how once local government responded to the needs of community. Today, government “must operate with the speed of business” (John Kasich), part of Giuliani’s free-market economy with unlimited development promising an ever bountiful tomorrow. Analysis takes its hat off to the wisdom of a great clown. Water, no get enemy.

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