Italian Greenhouses

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Mark Trahant is the 20th Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is a journalist, speaker and Twitter poet and is a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.

Italian Greenhouses

Date Posted: 
2012-12-02 00:00

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I spent last winter in northern Italy on a fellowship. Something that struck me was how differently people viewed food. For example in a village where I was staying, shopping for food was an every day event. People would walk through a open air market, see what was fresh, and buy enough for a day or two. The vegetables, the pastas, meats, fish or dairy, were all sold by the farmer, fisher or rancher. The food chain was quick and visible.

But in addition to a different shopping routine, I was struck by how common it was to see a green house. Nearly every house had something growing. Sometimes the green houses were quite large with vegetables growing all year. Others were small, growing fresh peppers or lettuce.

The reward is that every meal had that fresh taste. The very idea of processed food was, well, foreign. But my mind also traveled back to Indian Country. What if every house had a “green house window.” Just one exposed window that could grow a food product? What if there were community greenhouses? What would it take to add just a little more fresh food into a tribal community’s diet.

Here are some examples of greenhouses that I saw in Italy.

 
 

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