Sunday, April 13, 2014

Food Justice, Passionate Thoughts on Edible Gardening or Awesome Moments with Michael Twitty.......

I had a terrific opportunity to share a morning with The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.  Michael Twitty, Afroculinaria and a local culinary historian spoke on Food Justice. I have to say that his young man is as awesome as they come n gardening circles....or at least that is my opinion.

I have admired Michael since I discovered and appreciated his perspective on rediscovering and historically identifying the traditions of African American food.  This is the first website that is specifically geared towards the preservation of the history of African American food.   As I said  he is awesome.  Lately he has shared his talents on the PBS Series "Many Rivers to Cross" among other things. His latest project is called The Cooking Gene that follows his families roots from West and Central Africa through history.

While speaking with Michael prior to his presentation, I realized that we agree on many things about our heritage.  One of the main things that he is endorsing and one of the things that I ponder daily is how to reconnect young people with the earth.  Many African Americans have limited knowledge of the connectivity of how to grow food and what to grow, as it relates to our health and our finances.  There was a time when we had nothing to eat except for scraps.  We shared communally those scraps and created what is now in some areas "delicacies"....but at the time it was all we had to eat.  We bartered and took ownership of what were then tight knit communities.  Our communities and the land that was available was considered sacred space.  We have lost this thought process and it is so important that it be embraced once again.  Michael also believes that we should ask the question - who is controlling our food legacy within our communities???  Food can be a common denominator within our multicultural communities. Connecting with the Elders within our communities can provide narratives that we will miss as generations pass.

We need to find or create resources to acquire affordable land to grow and teach others how to grow and share.  One of the examples he shared was the wonderful work that is being done by Five Seeds Farm in Baltimore, Maryland.  I have not met Mr. Mitchell, however I have heard that he is a  man that I need to know. He started with a farm and brought the art of organic gardening/farming to the urban environs of Baltimore City where he now trains Baltimore City Youth to not only grow, but to market their food products and become better business owners.  Talk about recycling the knowledge gained to better a community...this gives me goose bumps!!! Communal gardening and sharing if knowledge......just like in the communities that our ancestors knew. Communities are built through food and we need to build better communities that rely on it's citizens to be strong and prosperous.

Michael Twitty, I applaud your efforts and I want to help in this effort of building better communities through food and cultural sharing.  Let's get this community building started..........

( photo on the run...I am sure we will have other opportunities for photo ops)

1 comment:

  1. Teri, you are such an inspiration to all of us - yes, get that community going.


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