Like many other communities, the Portuguese of Fall River have developed their own space, with distinctive spirit and character. This spirit comes from the interaction of the people living in Fall River and their surroundings. It is safe to say that the space influences the Portuguese of Fall River as they influence the space. This strong connection to their surroundings, their land, is reminiscent of their agricultural roots in the Azores and mainland Portugal.
One way that the Portuguese have changed the space around them, while also maintaining a continuity with the homeland, is through their gardens. Driving around Fall River during spring, it is easy to see the many cottage gardens that overtake many yards, back and front. These lush gardens are a mixture of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that seem to go beyond the typical suburban home garden. The bounty of color serves to liven the urban setting that is Fall River. Though these gardens are more than a pretty sight. They have roots in the traditional Portuguese agrarian life. The gardens contribute much to the home economy. Often, grapes are grown in the yard, used for homemade wine. This is the case with the grandparents of Kaitlin Mckenzie, a friend of mine, whose grandparents are first generation immigrants and make many bottles yearly. Also the various fruits and vegetables grown in these urban gardens are used daily as part of a meal.
The Portuguese have a long tradition of working the land and producing their own fresh food. This tradition continues in urban Fall River, where many Portuguese maintain beautiful, productive home gardens.