About the project
What are world crops?
The Cambriville World Crops project was started in 2015 to create a platform and provide a resource to bring together a diverse community of farmers and gardeners. This project aims to illuminate culturally diverse crops grown in Somerville and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The goals of this project ties closely to the conceptual model of growing for your diversity a reflective model to display the cultural diversity present in Cambriville through food. An information sharing platform to share what types of world crops are grown, who grows them, and what cultural community those crops are most linked to.
The Cambridge and Somerville communities are home to a wide diversity of foreign-born residents primarily from Brazil, Portugal, El Salvador, Haiti, China, Italy, and India. These communities host a wealth of culture and stories where this website hopes to serve as a portal to reflect such incredible diversity of crops in the community.
While this website only features a few examples found in Somerville and Cambridge we want to expand our network and community to all growers of cultural crops and begin to tell stories. This website is in partnership with Urban Food Stories another website created by the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program at Tufts University.
The Urban Food Stories project, started in 2013, and The Cambriville World Crops project, started in 2015, are sister sites that explore food justice through case studies of projects both locally and nationally. Both websites expand on an interest in how storytelling and placemaking play an important role in urban planning and food justice, especially among diasporic groups. The projects are focused on bringing together diverse communities in the urban agriculture field. Working in tandem, these sites work to bring to light the intercultural diversity in the urban agriculture movement, as well as to challenge the dominant narratives of race, class and gender in the food movement. To learn more about reframing the food narrative, urban planning, and storytelling visit Professor Agyeman's blog.
The phrases world crop or culturally appropriate crop are intended to represent any vegetable or herb unique to a certain ethnic group and important for cultural dishes, and is not commonly grown in the United States, most specifically the Boston region. With rapid demographic changes in the United States as immigrant populations continue to increase world crops become more appropriate as the availability of these more unique crops are typically very low. However, these crops are considered to be critical for many cultural dishes of many immigrant communities and often are not easily accessible. If available, these crops are in some cases expensive or of poor quality.
We can work to build racial and health equity by illuminating where these crops are grown to best continue to build community and grow culturally appropriate crops. This work is being conducted to help improve food access by growing culturally appropriate foods for the community.