Saturday, April 25, 2009

Reseeding Holyoke

More Happy Valley doings in the news today. The Atlantic has a charming article on community farming in Holyoke. I love this image:
“During the summer you’ll find a dozen guys sitting on tables and benches,” Ross said, “shelling beans and telling lies about the size of their tomatoes.”
The once thriving city that is just a few miles south of my former home in lovely downtown Northampton is a study in contrasts. On the outer fringes, the mansions of its glory days still exist and wealthy enclaves thrive. On one end, there's malls and mostly white, working class neighborhoods, with well preserved beautiful old Victorian houses now divided into apartments. But the center, where the mill workers once lived, was a very scary place.

Broken down tenements housed the Puerto Rican population where broken glass and drug dealers littered the streets. I used to venture down there sometimes in the afternoon to shop at the big bodega where they had the best selection of seven-day religious candles I've ever seen but I wouldn't dare go there after dark. I'm glad to see the urban farmers reclaiming their ground. I always thought that city had great potential.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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