Certain events in our lives cause us to freeze and reflect deeply on the why. I was enjoying a child-free weekend when the news of Chadwick Boseman’s passing came. Winded is a sufficient word to describe my emotions.
To learn of the cause floored me even more. He was fit, rich and melanated. How did this happen? After some dialogue, I was reminded of why growing food is an absolute must.
Colon cancer is the most preventable cancer. While COVID-19 is terrifying because of the “sudden-death” factor, many other diseases are plaguing people of color. Food deserts seem to be systematically created in poverty stricken areas. People of color lead in every major ailment.
My thoughts traveled 24 billion miles per second as I listened to a list of all of the connections. Red meat, processed foods, fried foods, sugary foods, genetically modified food, starch and a plethora of other things tax the digestive system.
What’s the correlation between food you ask? Organic food (found in upscale grocery stores) only has to be 80% pesticide free to be considered as such. What makes up the other 20%? Chemicals. Conventional produce has tons of carcinogenic chemicals sprayed on it for pest control and preservation.
A conventional apple looks healthy, but it’s a slow killer. Many Black farmers are now practicing growing food 100% naturally. A diet rich in just natural food would heal the body. This analysis is so surface, and I could write on this subject for years to come.
Chadwick’s passing jolted me to stay committed to my diet, to grow more food, to recognize my finite existence, to be more present in the moment. My immense sadness sunk in as I thought of Black men not making it to the age of 50 due to gun violence, plane crashes and diseases. My recommitment to advocating for poor and oppressed people was inspired by the Black Panther’s passing.
On a hopeful note: The Elephant Gardens grows 100 percent natural food for those in Indy. Growin’ Good in the Hood has a gardening program to teach the community how to grow natural food free from carcinogenic pesticides.
Again, in the words of Tupac “let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we think, and let’s change the way we treat each other.”
Growing food is warfare for many urban farmers. Food is the key. More on this subject next week, God willing.
La’Kiyah Muhammad is an urban farmer and teacher for Kheprw Institute and the garden coordinator for Kheprw’s Growin’ Good in the Hood Garden. She is an advocate for poor and oppressed people and a mother of three. Muhammad is the owner and operator of Earthly Clean Products.