The conversations are shifting and the products are looking more alive. Never in my wildest dream did I ever imagine that “we” would get it. But It is happening! More parents are getting their children in gardens. More food pantries are offering raw, fresh and organic food! This is AMAZING! I remember thinking to myself as a receiver how awful the food options were. And feeling like a child abuser having to feed it to my children, knowing good and well, that their health would be better if they did a fast, and skipped the next meal altogether.
So I never said anything. Instead, I answered surveys, advocated for others to receive food gifts and even volunteered my older children as needed to work such food pantries. At some point I guess, I melted into thinking… a little something is better than nothing at all. My next trips I would be more selective in what I wold select for my family even if that meant less food being brought home. In my mind, if I don’t bring lackluster food in, my family will not be tempted to eat it. I did that a few times and every-once in a while, I would luck up and find a pantry that distributed garden fresh, raw, and sometimes ugly produce!
Eventually it came to me, “Girlfriend, why aren’t you growing any food. Why are you 100% dependent on someone else to feed you and your large family?” I answered, ‘Ion-no’. (That’s slang for I don’t know.) Then I asked myself, Sis, there’s so much information out there, why are you choosing to put your children health at risk by feeding them food you know that doesn’t support a healthy immune system?” My response to that was, ‘dang, I gotta do better!’ And I did.
Here’s how I did it. I started in community gardens. Most times, they a ran by the local government who employees master gardeners like Nadine Ford (Mecklenburg County) to upkeep, lead and nurture novice gardeners. I got the kids involved with me. When I go they go. Then I became an advocate with the local Health Department. They hosted meetings monthly about food justice and accessibility. As outreach opportunities arose, I threw my hands up to be a part of them. That way, the children and I could learn together – for free! What came next was a revised advocacy. I created a mom support group that empowered other moms like myself to dare figure out what was best for her self and children. We learned a lot there too. Because businesses wanted to know what we preferred for our families. They began to listen. So I shared more of what I learned. Eventually I gained a tiny platform. There I am able to connect with larger brands, organizations, and communities on food justice, and what it really could look like. Which is more families growing real food in their own spaces. And more food disbursement operations caring enough to partner with local farmers, as well as grocery stores but increase the donated food donations to pantry recipients.
Right now, I’m so grateful to say that everything is coming together nicely. My children are healthy, I recently became a board member of The Bulb Gallery (a mobile farmers market) and I actually teach urban horticulture at the McCrorey YMCA as well as within my community. Momsrising.org has been an essential part of helping me get my voice heard in this foggy space.
I want to share with you my activity with in the last thirty days alone and challenge you to connect with me if you need my family to deliver our message to community, tribe, business, or family.
OCTOBER – NOVEMBER 2020
Sow Seeds Of Justice: Voices Of Hunger In NC- Click here to listen in. It’s a fun, informative, and creative podcast about how I produce culturally aware, educated, well rounded children in urban gardens. You’ll love it!
Oh, and if you miss my cooking demo with my kids, and Dr; Lindsey, You can watch it here. Momsrising hosted it. CLICK here –> https://www.momsrising.org/blog/its-a-snap-healthy-cooking-on-a-budget
In closing, here’s a popular tea that I make and sell. It’s a sweet red tea called Sorrel. I make and drink it at least twice a month. I’m not sure where it originated from, but it has many names: “Caribbean sorrel, Hibiscus drink, mulled wine, and Jamaican Sorrel ” I just call it sorrel. Some people make up to three batches from one pot. One without rum, one with rum , and the last ,by default is less bitter. Most people drink it during holidays, but I have been enjoying it for medicinal reasons. Here’s how to make it……
INSTRUCTIONS (ingredients included)
- In a pot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil then add the sorrel, sugar, cinnamon stick, whole cloves and orange peel and stir continuously while the mixture boils for one minute.
- Cool and cover with wrap and set aside at room temperature to steep for 2 hours or overnight.
- Taste for strength and sweetness. If it is too potent, add water or if too tart add more cane sugar. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a jar and refrigerate. (Discard the spices left in the cheese cloth). The sorrel will stain so be careful.
- For the adult version:
- Add the rum (I use whatever is on sale. ) allow to cool then strain as previously instructed.