Farms to Grow

Sunday, September 10th


Gail Myers Ph.D, Anthropologist & Co founder of Farms to Grow, Inc came in to talk about Farms to Grow and its environmental impact. Farms to Grow is a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with Black farmers and under-served sustainable farmers around the country.

For more information on Farms to Grow Click Here

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

That's. It's what the listener base merely I mean enforcement is carried out in today's that are buried it in person here talking about an interest in topic. Her name is doctor Gail Myers she's an anthropologist. Nicole I'm reforms to grow our units and wonderful years and I believe doctor Gail you can call me deal OK on an on Wikipedia doctor Gail. Cell farms to grow. Yes I was reading some of the notes and I was getting reform that wasn't really kidding there's a lot of big words in there I'm not saying some utility and farms grows all about. Farms to grow is a nonprofit organization working to facilitate support for African American farmers. It's organization that I co founded after I graduated from the Ohio state university and the Ohio the Ohio state university in that Columbus. It's I had done a bit of research in Ohio with African American farmers. It came time to graduate in reference work interviewing for teaching positions are working in archaeological institutes in makes it feel what are you going to do. So I don't know but I can't farms to grow and I said that because throughout the interviews and I had to. Listen to these farmers for the last three and four years to in my research. Half the time Alice peeling back the tears from listening to those who still horror stories of loss of land loss of family. And so I wanted to contribute to. How can I say recovering the memory of our ancestors that saw that I saw being lost. And I noticed that African American farmers were. Practicing a type of agriculture that if you if you go back to West Africa. Farmers there practicing the same thing you know the sense of community. It's the one group that I've worked with over the course of my forty some years when I was to my Ph.D. That really understood lane and you know food people in nature they integrated all of those together. And so I wanted to be as I. Had a sense of understanding of this I want to be. A person that helped these farmers protect their land and protect the memory. And so on. Upon. Moving went back to Atlanta and us are talking to some colleagues but anyway ended up in San Francisco Zoo where should've been out because this is the next state. And started talking a black farmers here in 2004. And found out that they were dealing with the same issues that the farmers are high and we're dealing with it. So we started farms to grow. One of the farmers I met when I was in Ohio. Out of a need to support these farmers they didn't have a lot of support from traditional. The United States agriculture agencies. And other agencies that were appropriate funds to assist them they didn't get that support. So we just you know wanted to stand in the gap to do something so. That's other organization has started. Okay three thoughts personalized items only good football players who says the Ohio State University but I guess just in green Bay Area the issue I got Ohio roots I was born Youngstown and I've about a 115 million members in Cleveland play and three I was meant that was in the airport so we lived a long time in the San Joaquin Valley Alzheimer says and out war. So I know all about the agriculture and hunting down this huge huge area for agriculture right black farmers and weren't. 2% well here in California let me say that there are. Little over 700. And you mentioned the San Joaquin. That the central valley. There have been black farmers in California since 1908. When colonel Allen's Werth opened at the city of balance with the town. Black farmers came to so we know that ranchers and farmers had been. Producing food and and and growing with since a biological diversity which we caught agro ecology in this state since 1908. And they're spread out throughout the valley the San Bernardino. Sacramento valley. But a nationwide most of them are in the southeastern states Tennessee Texas. You know Georgia Alabama. What foods are specializing man. The farmers African American farmers grow what we call on legacy flu season the foods. That were the seats that were woven into the women's tears and the breeds when they came into this. Continent and Black Eyed Peas okra. Proposal piece the food that no other farmers grow unless we keep our farmers on the land we can't. We can't much Brian Crowder peas and purple piece you know of the farmers are growing black happy he's done but. That there is part role peace and Crowder peas are variant of that. And those of the foods our farmers grow weed growth okra Collard greens are things that I. Identify masses of people that's part of our ancestry rule. Connection you know to Africa so these farmers all this food you know thank goodness they grow with the same kind of pristine and integrity. That there ancestors taught them their grandparents taught them generations ago so it's a it's a healthy weight to it you know it's a healthy eating. And the high quality of life if we can access foods and so what is your connection to the farmers could this mission right. Can't teach them the business side but I can't support them. So what how organizations as the one of our flagship programs right now we're going into our fifth year is the freedom farmer's market. The wave an African American farmers and other traditional farmers survive is through the local economy so they're not treating with Cargill are being in their feud that have. Contracts but on average African American farmers survive through contact with people in the neighbors the local community. So these are the farmers that need our work and our commitment to support them so we open the freedom farmers' markets that we can have a local economy. And bring these farmers here. And down so that's one of the things that we do so we basically facilitates support act. I I can't teach him how to grow I'm learning from them. We do help them to learn to expand on particular business opportunities that there would like to. But what we do is provide a place for them to sell their food for them to tell their story you know there's so many. The older narratives that we hear about agriculture it's like and a cowboy hat cowboy boot. People even know that they're black farmers so we provide a venue so that there are not invisible that people can come and see. Black farmers and for the African American community especially young people looking for a vocation. They need to see that as a viable career and see somebody in that that loves what they do. Black farmers and love their work. You know it's hard work and you gotta love it because it is so hard and so these are the kinds of things that we do we just. We support farmers and wanna be on their farm and help them to grow it. So you mentioned freedom farmers market which hasn't taken place we have got edited yet their sanity where it was him we're can be refined the freedom we are on 5316. Telegraph it's in the north. Which you say the north Oakland vicinity and attend a scale right near the tennis cal library. Where in the parking lot at the telegraph community center. Now we started this market at the request of the community and a business owner. Named king in who had the Brothers kitchen. So we were in west Oakland first. Can eventually lost that restaurant and Silva looked the owner asked us to move until we had to find a home. And so we had a partner at that time she I'm blessed so she's went on to be with the ancestors victory lead. Had a victory garden foundation and invited us to the telegraph communities in which is where her garden lines so we've been there form going on our third year. But the market opened in 2013. To address the need kin. At that time had some health problems and he would open his restaurant in 2012. And on the menu it's it coming soon. Black farmers market in 2013. We opened the market so he knows the area as a foreshadowing and so well yeah but weird that's where we are now. Greg and thanks for spending thirty day with us this is Louis in a Bay Area I'm your host Jerry DeVon my guest today is doctor Gail Myers. She's an anthropologist and a co-founder of forms to grow. To start my freedom farmers market which is at 5316 telegraph avenue and Oakland open every Saturday. From 10 AM to 3 PM and get all kinds of fruits and vegetables and things you. Burn of their heart and Alan yellow watermelon and yeah tradition remember I grew up in Florida and I remember yell in meet watermelon. We've got to farmer Ron Kelly is growing yellow water and I'll never seen regularly get home crowd appease proposal peace are still in the shell and a lot of people from the south that come with such joy. And the sick like that you live crowd appease in the show we even have a crowd repeat shelling contest. But of watermelon eating contest. You know we bring back the honor to our food and our practice of being on the lenient because and these people. Sonya that's what is agro ecology hagel ecology. It's a particular approach to growing food that takes into consideration the ecological environments. Does conventional agriculture with this one row of cotton you know and mono cropping it has no consideration for the biological diversity so you get one row of cotton or one roll of corn. And that's just one genetic strain at something if the book comes in and it can. Figure out the DNA of that strain the whole crop is going on what's so beautiful about biological diversity is that it. You know it's something comes in a disease it's not going to. Wipe out the entire crop because there's different diverse is is different DNA structure within that whole field and so modern agriculture has really wiped out. The agricultural integrity and most environments. So actually college is really. Taking into consideration the health of the soil health of the water and health of the pollen leaders to help of the community that's another aspect which I was so drawn to it. It really looks at two in two more equitable relationship not only with the people. That worked the land but returning what is taken from Italy and it's not an extracted. Practice it really is a cooperative practice it's it's a practice that when I started interviewing farmers. They would tell me they we want using that term is the scientific term and it came about them some professional and his research laboratory. That they were doing the practice. You know they go back planning about the size of the moon. You know they rotate they work with everything within the crop it's called closed loop practice. Everything on the farm goes back to the far we here in modern days we waste we got to find out what to do with that. This. Act waste implement what to do with that. When you're practicing agro ecology with a holistic. Perspective anything that is produced you're finding a way to put it back onto the right in the feeding it to the enemies becoming compost and it's our regenerate your soil nothing is wasted so I've found out that these farmers were. Practicing that and so I would go to classroom and I would tell my colleagues it would reading agro ecology and I would tell my professors and an icon is my professors. And down posted that's what these farmers are doing and there was some disbelief. You know they will stick into the old near. My knowledge Simpson near these bombers and doing it. I'm just the way it's written in the textbook then and so on it was I was set on making sure that. The world and is anybody that would listen with no that black farmers practice. A really. Heartfelt agro ecology. You know they love the land they love. They don't even consider ownership is something effort pharmacy you know he can only Langen the only man you can distort the land. You know that's a very. On African perspective. Sort of a communal like we have access to it we utilize it. You know we don't take more than we give back and react to keep making it better. But nobody this is mine mine that's not a principle that is has been traditional principal and traditional traditional practice. So everybody was responsible they're mad it was accountable to. How you preserve the soil and you know and everything and in the community and so that's what I found that African American farmers were practicing and I. I was just fascinated that no one was honoring them and nobody was. You know what why their names wasn't in. I EC bill chambers of black farmer worked with Ohio witnesses agro ecology is a very it's a very ancient practice. I think your fascinating doctor Gil and only got about two and a half more minutes yourself. I'm gonna see some quick question you'll and short answer is here all right personal usage is Sampras Cisco's to play to should've been all along as far as this. How would you think of agriculture. Don't generally think of San Francisco why do you think this is what is being. I AM I got excited I think about. The arm organizing around sustainable agriculture and it was the first place that I'd landed near the coast and I think you're pilot. And loses their harnesses San Francisco. Him but what I was fascinated by word the connections that this sound you know not just San Francisco but the Bay Area in California in general agricultural is is you know the number one you know there's something going here every day of the year and it was really respect for small farmers and farmers' markets and so I just felt like the perfect place to be. We run out of time let me ask you finally button social media for people wanna find you here in essence more questions how can reach we have the freedom farmer's market at FaceBook. Farms to grow. Has a FaceBook and a web sites they can go to freedom farmer's market dot com and check out our lovely photos and a little history of the events we've had for the last four years. We have farms to grow dot com. We would love to have some volunteers we take people on farms to help the farmers we got a farmer and stung window that's got to watermelon patch in and so. We left of folks to come out there and that we some watermelons and when it's time to Harvard sprinkled some yell at me watermelons for his show. Marvel will gonna be talking with the horrible right now we're gonna let the audience got consistent and has come out okay have a I think my guest doctor Gail Myers she's an anthropologist and a co-founder of forms to grow remember every Saturday. You Chica the freedom farmer's market from to named to 3 PM. 5316. Telegraph avenue in Oakland Hills guy thinks the government didn't thank you so last year for inviting me and right as. To a monger hose Jerry doubled in case you missed part of the show you just moved here all over again and why wouldn't you you catalysts in the Bay Area dot com checking our podcast page my producer Carlos prompts as a show will be up on Monday afternoon. Should listen to us next week and until we speak once again you released me.