In the conflict-ravaged Colombian city of Medellin, rappers have taken up urban farming to nourish their community and plant the seeds of peace.
With big Creole earrings, a bandana, and the crotch of his trousers hanging between his knees, Luis Fernando Alvarez looks more like a rapper than a farmer. Actually, he’s both.
Luis, or “El AKA” as he is known in Medellin, Colombia’s second-largest city, has brought his two passions together with the initiative Agro Arte – agricultural art.
San Javier is a slum of mountainous Medellin, and one of the city’s poorest and most violent. But Agro Arte has turned its ragged patches of wasteland and roadside verges into fertile land.
El AKA and his band of local residents – young and old – grow carrots, greens, cauliflowers and herbs. In the late afternoons and evenings, once the plants have been taken care of, the group makes music together.
Hip-hop and agriculture might seem like a strange mix. But El AKA believes it’s the perfect partnership to unite the community. “Hip-hop attracts young people, and agriculture the older ones,” he told DW.
Rap and farming have much more in common that you might think, the rapper says. “Hip-hop is from the street, but below the street is soil. And the soil contains our history and memories.”
And music is a way to process those memories.
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