using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : November 2016
Growing Food, Growing Community Doria Robinson of Urban Tilth As the former executive director and now a collective member of Urban Tilth in Richmond, California, Doria Robinson has spent the last eight years teaching people about food. Urban Tilth, which was founded in 2005, supports commu- nity agriculture and works toward a more sustainable, healthy, and just food system. “We model microbusinesses around pre- paring food and the production of food, and we teach sustain- able living in the city,” says Robinson. “We primarily work with people of color and very low-income people. Everyone involved lives in Richmond or surrounding neighborhoods.” Urban Tilth starts from the ground up, literally, by restoring soil. “Often the land we get access to is not in good shape,” says Robinson. “It’s been completely neglected, and the life in the soil is gone. We use that as an opportunity to show how you can bring life back to things. You don’t have to give up on places— or on people. It’s transformative, seeing how deeply you can restore life.” Robinson says Urban Tilth is founded on a desire to give people a sense of choice while cultivating community bonds. “There are things that get robbed from you when you’re grow- ing up in a place that’s thought of as poor or violent. We work to restore our community’s capacity to speak and do for our- selves, and not wait for other people to fix our problems or get us jobs. We create the economy we need.” Robinson’s Buddhist values align with this work. “Practice and compassion make a great gardener,” she says. “And you can’t garden well unless you’re mindful, especially if you’re not using chemicals. When you’re working in concert with others, your ultimate goal is everyone moving toward their highest expression of self. Belief systems get articulated through the practice of growing food and growing community.” As Robinson sees it, a lot of American Buddhism seems to be focused on getting away from the world and reaching some optimum state, but practice isn’t much use if it can only exist in some perfect space, in some perfect form. It’s through challenges, she says, that practice gets real. “If you’re engaging with the world, it can trigger you and bring out all of the stuff you try to hide away.” Urban Tilth was burglarized this summer, but within ten hours, community members had donated enough tools and money to replace everything. “People said, ‘What you do is so powerful and important, you have to continue,’” says Robin- son. “For a community where there isn’t a lot of money or ready resources, we redefined what it means to be rich.” Urban Tilth lobbies for salad bars in local schools and works with small stores and pop-up farmers’ markets to create more access to healthy food. “There are 56,000 kids in Richmond whose meals are devoid of healthy fruits and vegetables,” Robinson notes. “We are tak- ing on policy change and systemic change and encouraging nutrition education. We also live in the shadow of an oil refin- ery, and there’s noise and contamination. People should have access to food without chemicals, and they should be aware of the impact of chemicals in the soil and how it poisons farm workers.” Urban Tilth “turns people back on to why they care,” says Robinson. “Even if they are poor and struggling, there’s a larger community of people who are going through the same thing. There’s a way we can be active and make choices that are softer on other people and our planet.” Urban Tilth works in the diverse city of Richmond, California, to teach food production as a form of social justice and community. Doria Robinson’s roles have ranged from restoring soil to advocating for salad bars in schools. LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2016 66