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Racial Borderlands: Suburban Plantation Culture and 'Rancho California (por favor)'
Unformatted Document Text:  Racial Borderlands/10/9/03, p.11 applications of "administrative" knowledge by "experts." A lottery to give away garden plots was announced, and the coalition of non-profits and the city invited the press to cover the ground breaking of La Cosecha Nuestra on a winter day in January 1997. The video team began research in January and February in interviews with area master gardeners and in meetings with community members. This was followed in March and April with door-to-door interviews and surveys by garden coordinator Arturo Gonzales and my student, co-director, and "story editor" Devora Gomez. Devora’s family resided in the neighborhood, and their home served as temporary residence for the video team during filming. These dialogues and exchanges served two purposes. First, they aimed to solicit involvement in the garden from nearby residents. 17 Many of these renters were initially rightly suspicious of any offer for free land. 18 Second, these community dialogues served as "script-" or "story-sessions" intended to build a body of insights on eating and health issues specific to cross- cultural experiences. Additional ideas for a scripting and creative performance were elicited from the gardeners in a meeting on May 21st and in telephone conversations that followed. A schedule for the first on-camera interviews and filming was circulated and discussed at the garden meeting of June 4th and filming and interviewing began on June 9th. Three to four of the gardeners expressed an interest and willingness to "act-out" their ideas on cross-cultural food issues. Their short scenes were dramatized and filmed in June and July. One dramatized the risk of heart-attack from a macho diet of pizza and beer. One focused on a garderner’s recurrent obsession with advertising-induced binging, called "fast-food noir." A short, campy, tele-novela scene was performed entitled "The Many Loves of Chavelita." Finally, a cryptic spot was produced about the "indigenous" anti-(food)-pyramid, based on discussions of indigenous diets as they related to both FDA norms and commercial food in the United States. The majority of garderners, however, politely but systematically challenged the initial premise behind our methodology. "Why not simply let us appear and speak on camera as ourselves, rather than forcing us to be like someone else in a drama?" Identity was going to be important in the project as a

Authors: Caldwell, John.
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Racial Borderlands/10/9/03, p.11
applications of "administrative" knowledge by "experts." A lottery to give away garden plots was
announced, and the coalition of non-profits and the city invited the press to cover the ground
breaking of La Cosecha Nuestra on a winter day in January 1997. The video team began research
in January and February in interviews with area master gardeners and in meetings with community
members. This was followed in March and April with door-to-door interviews and surveys by
garden coordinator Arturo Gonzales and my student, co-director, and "story editor" Devora Gomez.
Devora’s family resided in the neighborhood, and their home served as temporary residence for the
video team during filming.
These dialogues and exchanges served two purposes. First, they aimed to solicit
involvement in the garden from nearby residents.
17
Many of these renters were initially rightly
suspicious of any offer for free land.
18
Second, these community dialogues served as "script-" or
"story-sessions" intended to build a body of insights on eating and health issues specific to cross-
cultural experiences. Additional ideas for a scripting and creative performance were elicited from
the gardeners in a meeting on May 21st and in telephone conversations that followed. A schedule
for the first on-camera interviews and filming was circulated and discussed at the garden meeting of
June 4th and filming and interviewing began on June 9th.
Three to four of the gardeners expressed an interest and willingness to "act-out" their ideas
on cross-cultural food issues. Their short scenes were dramatized and filmed in June and July.
One dramatized the risk of heart-attack from a macho diet of pizza and beer. One focused on a
garderner’s recurrent obsession with advertising-induced binging, called "fast-food noir." A short,
campy, tele-novela scene was performed entitled "The Many Loves of Chavelita." Finally, a cryptic
spot was produced about the "indigenous" anti-(food)-pyramid, based on discussions of indigenous
diets as they related to both FDA norms and commercial food in the United States. The majority of
garderners, however, politely but systematically challenged the initial premise behind our
methodology. "Why not simply let us appear and speak on camera as ourselves, rather than forcing
us to be like someone else in a drama?" Identity was going to be important in the project as a


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