Whether your cause is urban farming, public parks, or safer neighborhoods, getting involved in your community shouldn’t be a daunting task.
A friend recently asked me what she could do to “engage” her city, to become familiar with the political pulse. Thanks to mass media, it’s easy to connect to popular culture, social circles, and global causes, but sometimes it’s harder to “dig where you stand” and engage in local government where you actually live. Our built environment, set in concrete and steel, evokes a false sense of permanence, but cities are changeable! And they change by people getting connected, speaking up, and telling decision-makers what they want. You don’t need to be super political or rich or influential; sometimes you just need a problem to solve.
Tara Kolla of Silver Lake Farms is a great example of this principal. I first learned about Tara through researching the recent history of urban agriculture in Los Angeles. Her story is at the center of a wave of changes that have happened in the past decade for urban farming in L.A. However, she didn’t set out to be an activist. She was simply working hard at a craft that she loved, encountered a problem, and realized that she could change her city. And she did.