Why Did White People Cross the Road?

To get to Echo Park and gentrify it!
Arrrggg!

Having grown up in East LA, chickens and roosters have always been a part of my life, in fact, I even wrote about them on my Graduate Statement of Purpose. I had tiny little chicks when I was young girl, they were in the yard and a cat ate them. When my little sisters were born, one of them squeezed the little chick too hard and it died. My point is, chickens were always around, if they weren’t my grandmothers, they were the neighbors, they roam the streets and always found their way home. A general rule of thumb was, where there are chickens wandering the streets, you can bet there are Latinos/Chicanos/Cholos near by.
So, it’s a bit unsettling to read that chickens to the new “urban dweller” are the new hip and trendy pet according to an article in the LA Times. As it turns out, there are new hip books and magazines to go with the new hip pet. The couple, who had never had chickens before, sought help online through message boards and websites.
Hmmm. How interesting. I don’t want to assume, but I wonder how long the couple has been living in Echo Park. Are they new? Have they been to the “riskier” parts of Echo Park where chickens run free? Perhaps the low income Latino community may have been able to offer them some assistance.
The article cites the blog of another couple from Mt. Washington that have begun their experiments in urban farming.
While these new urban farmers pick their chicken coup color arrangements from a distance, many immigrant Latino families continue to face eviction and economic hardship in the developing areas of Echo Park and elsewhere.
While it may be new, hip and trendy to some, chickens as well as personal fruit and vegetable gardens have always had a place in low income, immigrant, communities of color. In essence, we have always been hip and trendy and don’t need a book or a magazine or global warming to tell us that maintaining fresh eggs and fresh veggies is the best way to nourish our bodies, while saving the planet. We have believed in Prop 2 since the dawn of Aztlan. I digress.
Green living and saving the planet is great, but please, “urban farming” is not a new concept. It’s just new to white people who got smart, wrote a book and are now cashing in.
We should have thought about it first!

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9 thoughts on “Why Did White People Cross the Road?

  1. EAPPster says:

    Hi Wendy. I totally agree that owning chickens is not just the fun hobby of white people, but something that many people of many classes have been doing for years. In fact, one of the reasons I was able to get chickens when I wanted them was because the immigrant families who live near me had made it profitable for my neighborhood pet store to carry chicks and feed. (BTW, I live in Mt. Washington, not Echo Park.) I also agree that the LA Times article made it seem like white hipsters were the only people who grow their own veggies and keep chickens for food. Which, of course, is ridiculous for anyone who lives in LA and has eyes to believe. If I had my way, everyone would be an “urban farmer”–regardless of their race or class, and well after it has ceased to be trendy.

  2. EAPPster says:

    Hi Wendy. I totally agree that owning chickens is not just the fun hobby of white people, but something that many people of many classes have been doing for years. In fact, one of the reasons I was able to get chickens when I wanted them was because the immigrant families who live near me had made it profitable for my neighborhood pet store to carry chicks and feed. (BTW, I live in Mt. Washington, not Echo Park.) I also agree that the LA Times article made it seem like white hipsters were the only people who grow their own veggies and keep chickens for food. Which, of course, is ridiculous for anyone who lives in LA and has eyes to believe. If I had my way, everyone would be an “urban farmer”–regardless of their race or class, and well after it has ceased to be trendy.

  3. Wendy Carrillo says:

    the tone of the article is troubling. i wish we were all urban farmers as well, too bad we dont live in a city that is more open to community gardens and less fast food joints – which is a whole other topic on obesity in america… thanks for the comment EAPPster 😉

  4. Wendy Carrillo says:

    the tone of the article is troubling. i wish we were all urban farmers as well, too bad we dont live in a city that is more open to community gardens and less fast food joints – which is a whole other topic on obesity in america… thanks for the comment EAPPster 😉

  5. EL CHAVO! says:

    This sort of when-white-people-do-it it’s green but when-brown-people-do-it it’s ghetto has been going on for way too long. The problem also stems from Latinos not seeing the value in some of their default behaviors, succumbing to some lame rules of what is to be expected now that they are in the “new” country. I grew up with chickens and could see why it was cool, but everyone else thought it was backwards, white and brown. Now the tables have turned!

    I did a post about gardens in Lincoln Heights that touched on this issue:
    http://laeastside.com/2008/07/eatable-patches-of-dirt/

  6. EL CHAVO! says:

    This sort of when-white-people-do-it it’s green but when-brown-people-do-it it’s ghetto has been going on for way too long. The problem also stems from Latinos not seeing the value in some of their default behaviors, succumbing to some lame rules of what is to be expected now that they are in the “new” country. I grew up with chickens and could see why it was cool, but everyone else thought it was backwards, white and brown. Now the tables have turned!

    I did a post about gardens in Lincoln Heights that touched on this issue:
    http://laeastside.com/2008/07/eatable-patches-of-dirt/

  7. Hamster with no wheel says:

    Yea, Brown has been green forever! Like El Chavo says but it was Ghetto. I guess it is right when white, hmmm….

  8. Anonymous says:

    Gente como estos ¨hippsters¨ no solo estan matando la ilucion de una cultura que ha desarrollado un gusto por lo bueno, sino que estan acribillando a quemarropa la cultura Mexicana! Que Dios los perdone, pero yo no puedo ni quiero hacerlo. Son unos estupidos.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Gente como estos ¨hippsters¨ no solo estan matando la ilucion de una cultura que ha desarrollado un gusto por lo bueno, sino que estan acribillando a quemarropa la cultura Mexicana! Que Dios los perdone, pero yo no puedo ni quiero hacerlo. Son unos estupidos.

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