Over the Tracks: Cultural Landscapes of Urban Food Production by Matt Scarnaty

Over the Tracks: Cultural Landscapes of Urban Food Production will be in the gallery at The Bridge for the month of May, with an opening reception Friday, May 13, from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.

This project draws from a body of research focused on food heritage in Virginia and expands that work by examining the specific spatial qualities and social legacy of productive cultural landscapes in the neighborhoods south of downtown and the main rail line in Charlottesville. Synthesizing empirical evidence and oral histories, this analysis describes the neighborhoods’ urban development through the lens of food production, processing, and distribution landscapes. This project adds another layer of interpretation to this area’s rich history by demonstrating the connection between food processing, products, people, and places. Ranging in scale from the backyard to the region, and in time from the Antebellum Period to the Second World War, this analysis demonstrates the enduring legacy of these productive “food-scapes.” Understanding how these spaces were common features of the historic urban fabric that greatly contributed to the collective identity of this place is vital to any attempt at re-configuring the neighborhood today.