Manny is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Urban Planning and Policy focused on community-driven planning, urban sociology, social movements, and community-based research. As an urban planner, he is most interested in the spatial politics of low-income communities of color. Currently, Manny explores how urban gardens can revitalize communities and their food systems by providing healthy food at a low cost, assisting communities to reconnect with nature, recreate homeland, and create spaces of refuge and resistance. He looks at ways that urban gardens empower low-income communities of color by reclaiming communal space as a collective expression of a community’s political power asserted through the demand for public space to support the community and gain autonomy. Manny completed a 2018 summer fellowship through Community Resilience Projects with the CRECE Cooperative in Santa Ana.
The purpose of Manny’s summer fellowship was to support the CRECE cooperative in Santa Ana, CA and enhance collaboration between the UCI Community Resilience Projects and CRECE who share similar values and objectives rooted in social and environmental justice. The community partnership forged between UCI Community Resilience Projects and CRECE cooperative was based on reciprocity and the shared understanding that the problems of climate change, racism and all social injustice, economic inequality, and our challenged democracy are connected, and so are the solutions. Manny assisted as an urban farmer working hands-on at the CRECE microfarm, drafting narratives for the organization, joining meetings, and conducting research.