The Contradiction of Being African Centered While Not Supporting African Food Systems

The funny thing about many people who purport themselves to be Afrikan centered and/or call themselves conscious in the city of Richmond, Virginia – they all eat food but don’t purchase food from black farmers nor are they looking to sincerely build infrastructure to grow food. These are facts. Not just an opinion. I may lose supporters for saying this but truth is truth. I work with black farmers in our region. My work in urban agriculture was inspired, mentored and nurtured by black farmers. They want to know why the black folks who call themselves Afrikan don’t buy food from them.

Now Kwanzaa is upon us – (again) an african centered holiday that is based on the harvest – and African people are an agricultural people. Our ancestors were brought to the shores of the Americas specifically for our skills abilities related to food production. The West; (countries of European origin) built their fortunes on the backs of black labor that grew plants for food, stimulation and medicine. So the contradiction is – how are your ancestors agricultural and this is a harvest festival that deals with nation – building and self-determination – but you don’t grow food – which is the foundation of any nation you may build – NOR – do you support black farmers that grow food in your region? The elements of the nguzo saba are all manifested on the farm and through food systems. In every way. 365 days a year. Prove me wrong.

What is even more intriguing is that many of the folks who call themselves afrikan – would dare say that because others don’t do this or that dogma (be it hebrew israelite, be it moorish, be it nation of gods and earths, be it african traditional spiritual systems, be it kemetic sciences) – that those folks over there are asleep. I wonder what woke is – when the very thing you do everyday is controlled by somebody else – and you have access to the tools and resources to reverse that into being independent and self-determining but you don’t.

I find all of it interesting. What I have come to the conclusion is this – many of the folks who call themselves Afrikan – have plenty of energy for what they are against – but haven’t really identified what they are for. The folks who are really about it – I salute you – you aren’t running around yearning for likes on facebook or youtube – you doing the work. You dont feel no way about this post because you know you doing the work.

There becomes a moment where you may get so invested in the problem that you don’t see viable solutions. I think it is called paralysis of analysis. I am not saying that food is THE solution – but it is ONE solution that touches all of us regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, income level, education and/or level of awareness.

“There is no culture without agriculture” – Baba Tarik Oduno

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