Over the past few months, Baltimore’s arabbers have been the subject of a number of feature articles on national websites.Writers and editors, it seems, love Baltimore’s horse-powered vegetable sellers.
It’s not surprising, I suppose. Arabbers provide an enticing mix of Wire-like urban grit and old-timey authenticity, with a dash of food desert politics to boot. An arabber narrative, especially one aimed at a non-Baltimore audience with little awareness of local nuance and history, has instant superficial appeal.
But do you know who does good, solid, contextualized reporting about the arabbers? The Baltimore City Paper. Incidentally, yesterday, the CP reported that 14 arabber horses (along with a goat, a pig, and 2 chickens) had been seized by animal control, which cited poor living conditions as the reason for the removal. The arabbers disputed animal control’s claim; CP notes that the city has a long history of contending with the arabbers.
There are certain to be more moves on the part of both the city and the arabbers; your best bet is to watch the City Paper’s website for updates.
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