While most people hail Fridays as a mark of the week’s end – time to kick back, sleep in, drink more than you do M-Th, etc. - I have been spending my Fridays at Truly Living Well Urban Farm.
Located on Hilliard Street (1 of 4 locations) in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Ga, the multi acreage of lush plant life almost fools me into thinking I could be anywhere but this bustling metropolis. But I am in Atlanta, the city with the largest disparity between rich and poor of any major city in the country, on my knees, in the dirt, picking weeds and learning how to feed and sustain myself.
While poor does come in every shade and color, in the city streets of America, it typically comes in black. And much like the state of unrest that was Baltimore just two weeks ago, it's clear all over the country that poor doesn't mean weak and disenfranchised doesn't mean alone. Communities are coming together in a movement that is bigger than #BlackLivesMatter to change the culture and institutions of America. Me choosing to learn how to farm at this urban garden has two significances in this regard:
(1) Supporting Black Businesses - Money is tangible (and in this country the most important) energy. We are indoctrinated to use money so frivolously that we often overlook what and who we are supporting. If you want your money (energy) to make a difference, support companies that you believe in. Support black businesses so that there can be more black businesses. I support Truly Living Well not just because it's black-owned, but because it is transformative in the Atlanta community with it's urban farming classes, farmers markets, and space for healing fellowship.
(2) Self-sufficiency - I have always said that the only way to eradicate poverty is through self-sufficiency and education. People must know how and be able to feed and clothe themselves. Not that learning to depend on oneself is the only solution, but it aids in the process of transforming our country and our consciousness. One of my favorite takeaways from Ghandi and MLK is the boycott. What would America be without our black $1.1 trillion buying power? If we can't shape the country with our voices, we most certainly can with our pockets. I decided to venture into learning how to farm because I believe in self-sufficiency - not because I want to do everything alone, but because I know the power of a boycott.
We must heal our communities and a lot of that has to do with what we consume. We must treat our bodies and our communities with the same love. While the farm may not be the frontline to some people in the war of social injustices, to me, it's one of the most transformative platforms.
To find and support black farms in your state, click here: http://blavity.com/black-farmers-to-buy-from/
Thank God It's Farm Friday - So what are you doing this Friday? Whether it's Friday or any other day of the week, remember our issues don't go away just because the trending topic does. Get informed, get dirty, and let's be proactive in shaping the world we want to see.
ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY LEEANN CHISOLM
Written by: LeeAnn Chisolm @MissChisolm