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Evolving stories About Growing Food in a Big City

Hull-House farm (Episode 2): Some soup and signs of growth

Cassandra West

Guests enjoy Re-Thinking Soup at Hull-House Soup and conversation at the Jane Addams Hull-House dining hall.

We promised a few weeks ago in a post about the Hull-House Museum urban farm that we'd return with regular updates on its 2010 growing season. We got back to the farm to record Episode 2 (see video below) this week after stopping in at the weekly (Tuesdays) Re-Thinking Soup lecture and lunch, a big draw for local activists and academics. At least 100 people (our best guess) showed up for big bowls of curry flavored soup, prepared in honor of this week's featured speaker.

Revathi speaks to food justice activists at Hull-House on May 18.

The guest speaker was Revathi, an Indian schoolteacher turned environmentalist, organic farmer/activist who works out of Trichy district in Tami Nadu with an organization called that trains farmers in eco-friendly farming techniques. She and her 12-year-old son, also a farmer, are traveling throughout the U.S. sharing their earth-friendly knowledge of agricultural techniques and a deep love of and respect for the land. Revathi shared with us so many stories, so much information about small-scale farming and how people the world over are being exploited by corporate agriculture/food interests. She says Americans may think they're rich with all their material wealth, but she thinks Indians are wealthier because they have more agricultural diversity and they're more connected with where they get their food. Even American's composting practices can't compare to those of Indian farmers, she says. In Indian, it takes less than a month to develop a rich compost, whereas here it takes almost half a year.

Revathi left us with lots of useful, enlightening information. But what we will most and long remember is one simple, eloquent and sagacious statement: "Food is medicine."

We'll be "Re-thinking" a lot of what she shared because it all makes so much sense.