08/13/2019 11:00pm

David Durstewitz is a friend of Lucie. He lives in the Hoyne House where I met Eileen : he is the concert organizer and gardener. David worked at «The Plant» several years ago, before joining another urban agriculture project, a bit more anarchic, named The Urban Canopy.

«The project started five years ago. Friends spotted an abandoned parking lot along a railway in the south of the city. It was an old asphalt surface, about 650 square feet. They covered everything with earth and compost, and started planting vegetables. I joined them the following year. The local library offered us water supply. When a neighboring company found out that we were using their unused parking lot, they let us farm : they didn’t seem to feel dispossessed, but rather happy that something was happening around. We sell the vegetables in Chicago : this is a real local production !»

David and his friends settled in the Englewood neighborhood, a predominately African American community on Chicago’s south side. All along the way to reach the urban farm, I can not see any white, Latin, Asian or even mixed people. The entirety of passers-by, merchants and inhabitants are black.

«This is the kind of neighborhood where you will be discouraged to walk around. But honestly, I come here for several years, and the worse that happened to me was to receive some stones while cycling to the farm. Nothing serious. At first, the children used to come a lot, to meet me. Some wanted to help, in order to earn a few dollars for their families. But one day, I got my bag stolen. I was annoyed because it contained my insulin : I am diabetic. I talked with one of the mothers and she called the police: she wanted to scare the kids. It worked: they never came back to talk to me.»