Father Vien Nguyen thinks the urban farm the community has planned could help them survive another hurricane. Photo credit: Kari Lydersen, ColorLines.

Vietnamese Americans are dreaming of a “new urban farm” in New Orleans, but fear post-Hurricane Katrina environmental hazards, reported ColorLines. Urban farming was key to helping the Vietnamese American community of about 20,000 become among the first to return to flood-ravaged homes and restart their lives after Katrina, with little assistance from government officials. They immediately planted small gardens, outside FEMA trailers housed on a large vacant lot before moving back into their own homes. It took many months for a grocery store to reopen anywhere nearby, but urban farming provided them sustenance. A new landfill developing near these community gardens could cause major contamination over time as things in the landfill break down. Tulane’s Environmental Law Center has already recorded arsenic in increasing levels surrounding the landfill.

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