African Americans in losing touch with the land and with traditions handed down for generations, they have also lost an important set of skills: how to grow and prepare healthy food. This has lead to an epidemic of diet-related illnesses now sweeping the country—obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes.
[T]he issues that confront most Americans directly are income, food (thereby, agriculture), health and climate change. (And, of course, war, but let’s leave that aside for now.)
These are all related: You can’t address climate change without fixing agriculture, you can’t fix health without improving diet, you can’t improve diet without addressing income, and so on. The production, marketing and consumption of food is key to nearly everything. (It’s one of the keys to war, too, because large-scale agriculture is dependent on control of global land, oil, minerals and water.)
The Achievement Gap
For decades, educators have struggled to close the “achievement gap,” the persistent differences in test scores, grades and graduation rates among students of different races, ethnicities and, in some subjects, genders.
According to an American Psychological Association article
, a group of social and cognitive psychologists have approach this problem not based on the idea that at least some of these disparities are the result of faulty teaching or broken school systems, but instead spring from toxic stereotypes that cause ethnic-minority and other students such as women to question whether they belong in school and whether they can do well there. While such a major problem might seem to require widespread social change to fix, the psychologists are finding evidence that short, simple interventions can make a surprisingly large difference.
For more about Closing the Achievement Gap click here
Gigabit Farm Aid will help urban youth learn safe and inexpensive agroecological management and technology practices that emphasize diversity, traditional knowledge, agroforestry, landscape complexity, and water and soil management techniques, including cover cropping, composting, water harvesting, computer programming, robotics, and machine intelligence. In addition to creating delicious and healthy food to reverse disease these practices sequester CO2 emissions to help reverse climate change.
For more about Gigabit Farm Aid reversing disease and climate change click here
The “digital divide” is the inequality between those who can reliably connect to the Internet and computers and those who cannot. At one Newark public high school, accessible Wi-Fi can be more valuable than a bus ride home.
For more about Gigabit Farm Aid addressing the digital divide click here
Center for Urban Agriculture
One of the long term goals of Gigabit Farm Aid is to build a facility similar to the Center for Urban Agriculture
. The building will include fields for growing vegetables and grains, greenhouses, and rooftop gardens. The will also include affordable housing.
In January 2009, Gigabit Farm Aid founder, Terrance Jackson’s mother, Lezlie Linder, was diagnosis with lung cancer. On his bookshelf, he had a copy of Ralph Moss’s The Cancer Industry which argues that chemotherapy and radiation are largely ineffective and so toxic people often die from their treatment rather than their disease. She really wasn’t interested.
In May 2009, in order to help encourage his mother to eat healthier, Terrance attended a screening of the documentary Fresh
which included a reception that featured Joel Salatin and Will Allen. Living in Williamsburg, Virginia he was motivated to host a screening and panel at the local library.
Will Allen and Joel Salatin
One of the frequent guests of Live From VA [LFV] was Kanye West. LFV first interviewed Kanye at a Norfolk hotel here he was performing. The venue capacity was less than 200. The next LFV interview was in Hampton where he perform at the Mercury Entertainment Center, a venue with a much bigger capacity but the crowd was no larger than 300 people.
The next interview was at his sold out performance at the Norva. After the Norva, Kanye West performed at the Hampton Coliseum opening for Usher.
These experiences planted the seeds for Gigabit Farm Aid which will be featured in the documentary I Could Be…
Gigabit Farm Aid will address the drought in the United States
According to Dickson Despommier’s The Vertical Farm:
Agriculture runoff is responsible for more ecosystem disruption than any other single kind of pollution. Most of the world’s estuaries have been so adversely affected by runoff that they no longer function as nurseries for the ocean’s marine fish, crustacea, and mollusks. That is why the United States must import more than 80 percent of its seafood from abroad….
The Department of Energy secretary, Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu, flatly stated three weeks after he took office in 2009 that the entire agricultural sector of California would become obsolete in less than fifty years due to lack of a source of noncontaminated fresh water: “I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen. We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California…..”
According to Wire magazine:
Jeffrey Kightlinger, the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California…says that his SoCal district, which serves 19 million people (that’s one out of every two Californians), has stored water reserves that will last three years with prudent conservation.
Urban areas get only 20 percent of the state’s water supplies; agriculture guzzles the other 80 percent. Last year, lack of water forced farmers to abandon 400,000 acres of cropland, and they’ll leave over a million acres unplanted this year. Some farmers in California have already had their water supply curtailed or completely cut off. If you like vegetables and fruit, this is a big deal. In 2013 the state exported $21 billion worth of agriculture. It produces nearly half the produce and nuts consumed in the US.
Steve Denning’s Forbes article, “Roger Martin: How ‘The Talent’ Turned Into Vampires:”
How did America—a country dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal—become one of the most unequal countries on the planet? Why do the nation’s leaders now spend so much of their time feeding at the trough and getting ever more for themselves? Why has public-mindedness in our leaders given way in so many instances to limitless greed?
These questions are being raised, not in some anti-capitalist rag from the extreme Left, but in the staid pro-business pages of the Harvard Business Review, in a seminal article by Roger Martin, the former dean of the Rotman School of Business and the academic director of the Martin Prosperity Institute: “The Rise and (Likely) Fall of the Talent Economy.”
One key factor, argues Martin, is a fundamental shift in nature of the economy. Fifty years ago, “72% of the top 50 U.S. companies by market capitalization still owed their positions to the control and exploitation of natural resources.” But in the latter part of the 20th century, a new kind of organization began to emerge: an organization that prospered not by natural resources but through “the control and exploitation of human talent.”
Contrary to what many claim
On December 9, 1968, Douglas Engelbart demonstrated almost all the fundamental elements of modern personal computing: windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing, the computer mouse, word processing, dynamic file linking, revision control, and a collaborative real-time editor. The funding for Engelbart’s work was provided by the Department of Defense.