Witnessing New Growth
The impression many have of the Southside is formed by stories like the farm’s recent history, when the dilapidated apartments were mercifully torn down in 2003 after a series of fires and murders. But before that, people also remember that is was once a “good neighborhood” where families thrived, or that it was the McCarthy farm in the 40’s that hosted the Syracuse Circus. No one is around to remember that before the circus days it was a wild and swampy bottomland, home to animals and native plants that supported the people in different ways than farms do now.
Recently, a teen girl stomped across the fields of the farm. When I yelled to her to get off the crops, she defiantly yelled back “The Southside is already dead, it’s buried under your fields.” She reminded me of the despair of poverty, and how hard it is to improve your situation when society has already decided your fate. Who cares about the Southside? Why bother trying?
We may be only growing vegetables, but what we have witnessed in just two years at the farm is a transformation of spirit in our neighbors, and in those who visit and volunteer. Our neighbors are excited, proud, and hopeful. Land that was blighted and abandoned is now an oasis for the mind, body and spirit – a place of peace and inspiration. The transformation of a place from neglect and darkness into something life-giving and hopeful is not new; it is a resurrection of good that was always there and is always in us.
This year we have finally built a fence, and are building two greenhouses. Our CSA will be open to 70 families and we will be selling at the Saturday Regional Market. You are always welcome to visit and volunteer at the farm. We hope you can join us our story of transformation.