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#Day 12 Black Sustainability Challenge: GROW SOMETHING TODAY!!

There is a DEEP need to repair our relationship with the earth, ourselves and connection to the land after the MAAFA*. There is also a great need to restore the health of our planet from the constant ecocide. Both of these needs require reparative investments of resources, time, and intentional practices that can slowly un-do SOME of the damage that has been done. #ReparativeAgriculture

*MAAFA, the Swahili word for “great disaster” or “great tragedy,” is a term used to refer to the centuries-long enslavement, murder, inhumane treatment and stripping of language and cultural identity of millions of Africans by Europeans, ‘white’ North Americans, and others—and the lasting impacts via epigenetics, socialization, injected oppression and institutionalized racism on African People and the descendants of those who were enslaved. In present historical books, the MAAFA is referred to as the TransAtlantic Enslavement Trade or Middle Passage. 

From gentrification, colonialism, enslavement and genocide, Black/African people have consistently been displaced forcibly from our native lands and legacy neighborhoods. The land, and our connection to it, is rooted in our spiritual and traditional practices; the oral history and stories we told which personified native animal species, plants, fauna and natural elements all tied to space. As a result of the MAAFA, not only were we removed from our land, we were forced to work land that was disrespectfully cleared, for the benefit of enslavers, the enrichment of a country that was not our motherland and to the detriment of the natural ecosystems, often permanently. This criminogenic society was self-justified through its laws and perverted religions, while it continued to commodify and rape both the land and people it depended so heavily on. 

Returning to our source and guidance of natural law, understanding that we are part of the whole and the concept of “as above, so below”, our people can start to heal. All that is done to Asase Yaa/Ani/Mother Earth, is done to us. We benefit when she is healthy and we suffer when she is not well. No one can escape this fact, no matter how delusional they are. Sadly, consistently Black people are disproportionately negatively impacted by the attacks on our planet. Our attempts to heal the planet are often demonized, disregarded or finally appropriated and monetized by the very originators.

This disconnection has happened and continues to occur across the global South in this maddening migration to cities/urban centers in search of a better ‘life’ thanks to propaganda set by those waiting for you to leave the rural area and snatch it up for their own desires. Living in a concrete jungle, away from the natural environment, the places our people can afford to live are in areas where we are exposed greater stress, pollution, lack of access to actual food, proper education and opportunities for economic mobility - leaving our children to repeat the cycle of poverty and start to normalize the reality faced. 

To start the process of healing, the African Proverb (that my daughters love), “Great fires erupt from tiny sparks” is fitting.

To spark you on your journey, plant something…anything TODAY.

  • Get a pot, a cup, a jar, fill it with soil, a seed/seedling/plant and tend to it this year. 

  • Speak to it your truths, speak to it positivity, speak to it what is on your heart. 

  • Water it. 

  • Ensure it receives sunlight so it can create its own food. 

  • Watch it root/continue to grow. 

  • Watch it respond and communicate back with you its needs through:

  • - the color of its leaves, 

  • - its stance (Is it drooping? Sagging like a heavy load? Is it standing firm and upright?), 

  • - its environment (Where have you placed it? By a window in your home? Outside? In your room by the bed? Does it have rocky soil, sandy soil, clay?) 

  • Based on the type of plant you have in/outside your home, have you given it what it needs to thrive?

  • What value have others found in this plant and what have you found? (Is it a medicinal plant, is it edible, does it clean the air around you, is it ornamental, does its flower have a striking color or shape? Are the petals/leaves smooth, round, jagged?)

  • Reflect on yourself through this plant. 

Consider, if this plant were to observe you, would it see that you have clean water, a firm or sagging stance, a vibrance of color or value you bring, a clean environment, clean air, etc. 

Do you have all that is needed to thrive?

When you see nature, see yourself. 

Growing for the sake of eating is a necessary act if we are to be self-sufficient.

Growing to commune with nature and see yourself as part of it and in it is a more beautiful thing. Give as you receive and receive as you give. 

Today is about repairing damage done by starting with a seed. 

Let us know how it goes and connect with other Black growers to share your experience and build community with other intentional growers who steward the land and provide healthy food to nourish our bodies and souls. 

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