finding and pambana

[re]claiming revolutionary musings

Posts tagged ancient knowledge

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Interview with Tashi, Black Wombyn Farmer.

Why do you enjoy working on the farm and with the nation-wide CSA community? Is it particulary meaningful to you as a Black wombyn?

My identity as a black wombyn has informed by decision to farm and become a part of the CSA community. The concept Sankofa has also had a huge impact on those decisions. Meaning either the word in the Akan language of Ghana that translates in English to “go back and take” (Sanko- go back, fa- take) or the Asante Adinkra symbol. It is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” As a black wombyn farming how can I not implement the sankofa concept in my life; I am choosing it as a life philosophy… I am learning from our ancestors and from some of the mistakes that have been made… I learn not to control the earth but work with the earth, using natural methods that some of our ancestors used to work with the patterns of the earth and combining them with new technologies that are in line with an ethos of interconnectedness that respects the earth.. i believe everyone has the basic human right to healthy and nutritious food and we all need to be a part of cultivating the food we consume. I recognize that the current reality of our world’s food systems are steeped in white-supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal ideologies and structures that affect everyone but disproportionately hurt marginalized communities (i.e. women, people of color). Through CCF I seek to create and (re)imagine a transformative food justice system that serves as an example of an alternative pro-human ideology, addresses the effects of oppression, thereby dismantling structures of oppression through our own positive creativity. I enjoy working on the farm, not only because i get to work with nature but also because I feel empowered relying on myself and my fellow farm-partners to supply my diet rather than multi-national-corporate-for-profit-businesses and I believe I am in solidarity with the women who produce 70% of the food on earth but are marginalized and oppressed by neoliberalism and patriarchy.

Would you describe the work you are doing as spiritual/metaphysical? Why?
I would definitely describe the work I am doing as spiritual. I am seeking a spiritual, ancestral and African derived consciousness for my own creativity. Making peace with the earth, an integral component to ancestrally driven spiritualized consciousness, involving a deliberate and critically aware relationship with ancestral spirits that reside all around us. Respecting nature is a practice that is closely associated with the practices that sustained our ancestors. Seeing nature as an essential force for human existence, and creating positive relationships within natural landscapes is an embodiment of ancestral consciousness. (“Making peace with the earth, we make the world a place where we can be one with nature. We create and sustain environments where we can come back to ourselves, where we can return home. Stand on solid ground and be a true witness.” –bell hook ( The Colors of Nature, “Earthbound: On Solid Ground”, 2002)). There is a spiritual practice that is involved at a daily and constant level when truly living aligned with the seasons of the earth. 

-Do you understand the Black community as having a distinct/special connection the physical landscape (in amerikka)? Yes, I do believe within the historical context of Africans forcibly placed in america, the Black community does have a very distinct connection with the physical landscape of this country. Aside from the indigenous people, the Black community have truly been the stewards of this land.

….Considering the tenuous relationship we, as Black people, have had with the amerikkkan land (for example: being commodified as land is in the same capitalist system, being stolen from our land, being forced to work land stolen from Brown folk, being denied access to land ownership, fearing our footprints in the soil as we escaped enslavement ), how would you characterize our relationship to land? How is it radical as in oppositional/creative/cool?

I would characterize our relationship to land as strained. In the aftermath of chattel-slavery, industrialization and in a time where the capitalist system is upheld, I am under the impression that many people of color, and especially many black folks in america want to stray as far away as possible from manual labor in fields…..(i gotta run but, i’m going to finish answering this question today. i apologize if any of these answers are unclear, i’ve been sick and running around for the farm. love you so much!)

I appreciate you Tashi for sharing your Black wombyn ecological ancient WISDOM.

Filed under African Diaspora Afro-worldview Black Women Writers Black environmnetalism(s) Black farmers Black feminist Black land Black wombyn Black women farmers CSA Tashi africans are pretty amazing amerikkka amerikkka is stolen land ancient knowledge ecological freedoms environmental justice environmental racism feminism nature organic agriculture womanism food justice food green revolutionary spirituality Truth anti-capitalism Black people

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i have a lot of memories of being indoors and outdoors. i remember climbing trees in harare and planting maize for the summer. i remember sitting as a teenager on sidewalks and playing in the sprinklers of inwood park in nyc to keep cool in the sticky heat. i remember my grandfather telling me stories of the kkk and taking over the farm my great grannie had been sharecropping in virignia since the days our people were fighting enslavement. visiting my father’s family in rural kenya for the first time since he was exiled and eating small sweet bananas and sleeping under mosquito nets, unlike all my cousins who new how to live in their home without them. hearing story of ovens dug into the ground by friends’ relatives in méxico. spritzing at plants in harlem apartments. there are many many reasons why us Afro folk have had a tenuous relationship with the land: being taken away from our homeland on this continent or that; being forced to work on the land, land stolen from Brown folk, to benefit the whites; being commodified just as land was within oppressive capitalist sytems; being denied the fruit of our labours on the land, or time to walk leisurely; fleeing and fearing our footprints in the soil; and also dreaming of flying home; singing in the fields; sharing ancient afroknowledges of cultivating rice, being part of growth; learning from Brown folk of the berries and moons. understanding the problematic connections made by the euroworldview- we are not more natural or animal. this is us exploring that Black people overstand ancient and deep meaning, both metaphysical and material, within the earth. the toxic worldview constructs lies of dichotomies and divisions: human/nature, white/Black, man/woman, intelligence/animal brutishness, beauty/ugliness, to maintain toxicity and domination. in Brown and Black worldviews there is the radical to-the-root-to-the-stars  understanding of the interconnectedness of all beings and elements-creating new spaces in which the non human such as plants, air, stars, and all humans are valued and important. 

Filed under environmental justice Afro world view people of color Black and Brown power environmentalism deep ecology earth enslavement land liberation interconnectedness planting Justice ancient knowledge