Sunday, December 31, 2006

Small Farming for Profit and Stewardship

North Carolina farmer Alex Hitt and his wife Betsy have worked their 26 acre farm in Graham, N.C. into an environmental gem and profit center. "Over the years, Hitt has reduced acreage and labor by improving their soil with cover crops, concentrating on high-value crops that grow well in the area. What he has not reduced is profit, thanks to direct marketing through the Caroboro Farmers Market and Weaver Street Market, a cooperative grocery store in the area.

"Each acre returns a minimum of $20,000 annually, while four high-tunnel greenhouses (that shelter young or delicate crops) bring in $1,000 per crop. The Hitts embrace their small scale, growing 80 varieties of 23 vegetables along with 164 varieties of cut flowers on just three acres. Alex and Betsy were winners of the 2006 Patrick Madden Award for Sustainable Agriculture from Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program." (~Reprinted from "Small American Farm" magazine, January 2007 issue.)

Alex and Betsy Hitt will deliver the keynote address at this year's Future Harvest Alliance Conference in Hagerstown, Maryland, January 12-13, 2007. Learn more about this and other Future Harvest-CASA information on their website at: http:/, or email to:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Eco Villages

Great things are occurring in Intentional Community organizations. Many today are looking at building Green and Permaculture planning in their process of creating sustainable living in rural as well as urban and suburban settings.

It's almost as if time spirits from the 60's went to school, experienced all the ups, downs and changes that life can bring, and now armed with "Green Master's Degrees", PhD’s in urban planning, psychology, and agriculture, are coming full cycle to the commune and readjusting their earlier fantasies of Utopia to fit the realities of today's world. Questions remain:

  1. Who will watch my back when crime rates rise?
  2. Where will I raise my children as predator populations increase?
  3. With crack babies now raising meth babies, where will I find a quiet, peaceful place to live?
  4. How will I earn a living in rural settings ... and perhaps even "flourish rather than just survive?"

I attest that this is a window of time when the answers to the questions are not only possible, but point to far greater rewards than we even imagine in these current cities of despair.

White American is on the move working in this direction. Why are we still anchored to places where there is little or no money, and where we are dying?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Example of a Farm Business ... Like Dogs?

Here's just one of thousands of ideas you can purchase that will change your life ... and most likely add years of contented living.

When most urbanites think of moving to rurual areas, one of the first things that pops into their heads is: "How am I going to make a living?"

Do what you like. Follow your passion. If you like dogs, there are a surprising number of kennels and horse properties up for sale. You may not want to buy large farm animals like horses, but Kennels and is a website aimed just at that market. The asking price for:
  • 10+ Acres
  • 2 Master Suites
  • 32 Separate Fenced Exercise Areas
  • 4 Bdr 3 1/2 Bath
  • 72 Runs
Asking Price: $299,000

Here's how the property above is listed:

This is a lovely Southern home, complete with the white columns. Brick and the setting is magnificent. White four board fence lines the roadside, sweeping lawn, complete with large magnolia trees, between the road and the house. Fenced back yard for security. The house is large, I haven't measured but would guestimate about 3000 sq. ft. Four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, two story with a ground floor master suite and another on the second floor. Full balcony opens onto both back bedrooms upstairs. Formal dining room, Living room, and huge family room kitchen combo. Double attached garage.

Located in South Carolina, convenient to both Columbia and Orangeburg. On paved secondary road.

The kennel is located in 3 buildings, totaling 72 runs, with 32 separate fenced exercise areas, all fenced with 6' chain link. Approach is down a long paved drive that winds thru the grounds. Large shade trees surround all the buildings.

There is a significant amount of deferred maintenance on all the buildings, some need more work than others. Kennel is currently operating and making a living, it could do much more. Currently offering no training, no walks, minimal grooming. Owner does no advertising.

Seller may do some owner financing with significant down. This is an opportunity for the buyer with vision.

Now Is The Time ~ Start Planning

Unless you're young or grew up on a farm ... or earned a degree in agriculture or something, they type of "farms" I'm urging African Americans to purchase are best called: "Hobby Farms" or "Truck Farms."

For middle age folks and older, the prospect of buying over 1,000 acres of land, and actually FARMING them ... well, it's a bit un-daunting to say the least. Otherwise, owning something like three, five ... ten ... up to 40 acres is what I'm talking about.

1910 was the peak era for black land ownership. For African Americans to regain that same level of land ownership, each black person must own a minimum of 1.37 acres of land for us to even get back what was lost ... or depending on how you look at it... what we gave up.

Toiling all day every day in 100 degrees on over 100 acres of Georgia red clay wasn't easy and I'm sure there were more than a few who were only too happy to sell the family farm. (Especially knowing that they weren't paid the same earnings for what they produced as white farmers were.) In fact, if you look at programs like television programs like PBS' "Homecoming," you have to be wary of the propaganda they're selling. Still, it too is a valuable story about the feelings that linger in the souls of many black Americans about "Home" ... wherever that is.

I remember stories my mother told me about life on the farm and how during The Great Depression (..yeah ... some of those stories did get old...) they never suffered like people in urban America or farm workers who were in dust bowl areas... because they had everything they needed. Fresh food, farm animals, cows for milk, plenty of fresh water that ran through their land ... even horse and buggy if the gas ran out.

Even though most financial forecasters aren't sounding the alarm bells of a new depression any time soon, there are plenty who are saying that the next ten years ... and for sometime thereafter, we may be in for "Sinking Globalization" and "The Muddle Through Decades."

I don't know about you, but at age 53, I've learned from experience, that black people don't do too well in recessions ... especially a series of recessions! I was born near the end of the Baby Boom ... and it seemed like every time I stood in line, and finally got my turn at bat, game was either over or called for rain.

I attest that in Capitalism 101, to have a top, you have to have a bottom.

I assert that the playing field is not fair and never will be fair when it comes to us ... unless we can gain far more economic and moral power than we have today.

Owning land has always been one of the quickest routes to wealth. Americans seem to love to move ... and now the bulk of who is moving .... is moving to either the left or the right coast. Both are already over crowded. [SEE: ]

THERE'S NO MORE ROOM LEFT ... and still they're moving in. More rats in the cage means lower earnings, lower quality of housing, more traffic jams. Just this morning I heard a radio story about a new computerized fast lane in Minnesota or someplace. As global funds decrease, you can bet State and local authorities are going to be squeezing us for as much as they can.

Isn't it a far more logical decision to confront our fear of change, and do something different?? The definition of insanity is what? Yes ...

"Doing the same thing over, and over again, expecting different results."

African American mental health isn't all that good right now ... and with increased stressors, there will be more crime in the hoods, and more self-medication for all the drama, and yes, more mental illness. It's time to go!

Monday, December 4, 2006

So Much Land To Be Free In

During the Great Depression, many people fled the drought-stricken region that stretched from Nebraska to the Texas panhandle. The struggles of those who stayed are the subject of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Timothy Egan who follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains during the Depression, going from sod huts to new framed houses to basements with the windows sealed by damp sheets in a futile effort to keep the dust out.

One of the most powerful and thought provoking aspects of "The Worst Hard Time" is the fact that the Midwest has never recovered from the Dust Bowl exodus. Even to this day, farmers in the Midwest going bust. "All across the Grain Belt stand abandoned homesteads, symbols of untold stories of failure, flight from the land, and even suicide." They leave behing land, farm homes, barns, etc...

Perhaps to entice urban-weary Brits, even the BBC did a story on Mid West Farmers Going Bust. But the Reverse Black Migration Movement is not about trying to become prosperous farmers as much as it is getting out of the way of the insanity and ever increasing cultural doom that life in Urban America is for us. Therefore, land with a farm house and out buildings, electricty, and water already on it is a huge gift just waiting for us. I dream of small Intential Communities of like minded black people with vision seeing this opportunity and sizing it.

A common Buddhist quote is: "Everything Changes." Sadly, what is true for the "American Farmer," may be a good thing for black people seeking to join the "Back To The Land" movement. (Click here for Wikipedia’s write up.)

Heretic or "New Theology"? Bishop Charlton Pearson

Have you ever stood outside... some place where it's hot, and just wished for a breath of fresh air? Well, I just felt one while listening to NPR. It wasn't a great, cool, "Winds of Change"kind of breath ... it was just a faint one ... a small whiff that moved the grass tops just a bit ... so faintly that you could miss it if you weren't paying attention. I'm always talking about why American (and especially Black America) needs to update its theology, knowing that we'll never be a monolythic people, SEVERAL updates ... hell ... newer versions completely are in great need. But I'm getting a head of myself.
The story was about a modern American "Heretic" and "This American Life" began the story with:

"The story of Reverend Carlton Pearson (pictured), an evangelical pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His church, Higher Dimensions, was once one of the biggest in the city, drawing crowds of 5,000 people every Sunday. But several years ago, scandal engulfed the Reverend, he was denounced by almost all his former supporters, and today his congregation is just a few hundred people. He didn't have an affair. He didn't embezzle lots of money. His sin was something that to a lot of people is far worse ... he stopped believing in hell..."
The power of this story is not that the good Revern got himself in trouble by using his God given brain to actually think about his subject ... it was that ... well, it's a viewpoint long overdue.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" goes the old saying. Well, it's obviously broke and the current nation-wide Meth / Crack / OxyContin epidemics prove it. Transpersonal Psychology says that addicion is a spiritual emergency.

In, "Reality Isn't What It Used To Be," Walter Truitt Anderson discusses the strange combination of issues we're currently walking around feeling ... or choosing not to feel. "We still have the same pre-modern Gods, yet we live in a postmodern world and it seems the theologians haven't kept up pace with the Space Age we entered 30 years ago ... let alone define The Divine in our post-modern, alienated, fantasy-fueled, drama ruled dysfunctional world of The New Millennium.

We're still battling with worn out, premodern concepts like:
  • "God took my parents" *sniff* (where? ... um ... WHY??)

  • God as Santa Claus (i.e. "If I'm a good boy, God will give me a new Mercedes!")

  • If Jesus Chist lives only at MY church ... what's going to happen to good old Hapka at work?

So ... what exactly should religion do for us?

  • Religion is supposed to help us make sense of our world.

  • It's supposed to help us see The Divine increasinly in ourself and in others.

  • It should give us the faith we need to be adults. (It's said you can't be a man without faith.)

  • It's tasked with providing us with enough strenght to embrace "The Other" ... and the other isn't just the man or woman we hope to marry ... in todays world ... it's pretty damn near every body other than the person walking around in our shoes ... most days...

We obviously have enough guilt and shame. Guilt and shame are the key ingrediants for addiction ... as well as for Mental Illness... so shouldn't we have more guys and gals like Bishop Pearson walking around instead of fearfully nailing him OUT of the chruch ... because ... well ... because he's showing the emperor's lack of clothing ... despite all the money we've been giving so he could buy some?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Few Black Stats

A few stats...
  • 65% of black children grow up without a father

  • 1 out of every 32 Americans are either in prison, on probation or on parole

  • Black women are three times more likely to be sent to prison than white women

  • The Number One killer of young black men age 25 and under is AIDS

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wanna See What You're Missing?

Some black people will look glance at this blog and agree with its premise immediately. Others will need more convincing. So take a quick look at your room, studio apartment, or home in the hood, and then look at what you can have for shockingly cheap when you move out of the chaos and into nature.

United Just type in a state you're curious about or perhaps the home state of "your peoples"... and be prepared for shock and awe....

Ranch & Don't stop there. The web is full of possibilities. On the day I pulled up this page, they were featuring a "rustic cabin" in Colorado for $148,900.

The links above are simply the tip of the iceberg. Here's a scenic little country home ... national forest on 3 sides, a spring-fed pond, sheds and a barn on 36 acres for only $149,000!

Raped His Mother?? Time to Leave

Gary Helms, Jr. raping his MOTHER. (You know how them Alabama boys like ta take things in hand... sometimes ...) If not, it's important that I reprint the post because it is an illustration of how toxic this culture has become.

A shocking crime in AlabamaPolice in Albertville say 19-year-old Gary
Helms, Junior is charged with raping his 45-year-old mother. Police say he did it to seek revenge against his brother after the two argued over a girlfriend.

The police report says Helms' mother was passed out drunk on the couch when
the rape started. She came to and recognized her son during the attack. The police report says his mother tried to get away but Helms held her down until he was finished.

Albertville police Sergeant James Smith says Helms confessed to the attack and was ordered held in the Marshall County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

"From what we understand the rape stemmed from an argument between him and his brother. And apparently they were arguing over a girlfriend. And the rape was some sort of retaliation towards his brother ... it's just pretty much a shock to the conscious of the general public."

Just when that was bad enough, today I was discussing the story with a sister (my age) who does Domestic Violence Work, and she calmly said:

"I'm not shocked at all by that.

""WHAT??" Was my responce.

"Black women have increasingly been having sex with their male sons for some time now. When this first came to light, I didn't want to believe it either. Then a boy sent me a poem he wrote ...."

You enter when I'm in the tub,
You wash my hands
Then you wash my body
Then you wash my penis
Then you kiss my penis
I try in vain not to be arouseand tell me I'm your little man

For a long time we've discussed the demoralization of black men ... of men in general. But a culture can go no higher than it's women. When we've demoralized them ... or allow them to become demoralized ... it's over.

There is no "Next Generation." The kids are already beyond being "in trouble." It may take a long time to get past these Dark Days. It may take us several generations. In the mean time, I'm through with working in the non-profit world ...

Mental Health? It's filled with sociopaths and shit throwing schizophrenics who need five or six firemen and police to hold them down.

Homeless? Ahhh ... poor little 49 year old homeless vet ... why you still going in and out of prison? Ahhh ... here ... let me help you ... and in the process ... you look upon me as yet another Mark for your sociopathic vengeance ... because you can't feel anything else anymore ...

Substance Abuse? Ahhh ... poor wittle meth feind ... Crack wasn't enough, eh? Still in fear of feeling an adult feeling? Still in torment that you might recall ... even for a second ... some of the havoc you're wrecked on any and everyone who's ever tried to help or reach out to you? Ahhh ... and now your behavior mirrors someone with a Borderline Personality Disorder 'cause you want EVERYBODY to loose ... and the none of them can feel love anymore. None of them can truly love (as an unselfish adult does) any more. All they can feel is some measure of pleasure when they think they've made you suffer because you just didn't feel like kissing their rotten butts that day.Naaa ... time for me to get a farm somewhere ... and it's past time for them to reap what they've been sowing all these "gansta" 25 past years.


"When families can't create love ... they create drama."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Creating Successful Black Culture

"Like iron shapens iron, men
shapen men."

When I think about what it will take to once and for all, set down in stone, who we are as a people, one of the main things that comes to mind is the fact that we'll have to revise our image of what a man is.

You can say what you will about white America, but two things we do know that has helped their culture rise and create strength greater than most others, and they are:

  • THEY STICK TOGETHER ... right or wrong ... regardless of what is SAID, in the final analysis, the Republicans and the Democrats are on the same page when it comes to White Supremacy and controlling wealth and the means to power. They can argue fuss and fight about all the rest, and will even love and marry you ... but when it comes down to "you" and "them" .... "them" sticks together!

  • Men who know how to be MEN, teach other men. They can make all the John Wayne "rugged individualistic" movies they want ... but when they view that movie and when you view that movie, you can bet there's a different message being sent. For them, the message is what it takes to rule. For non-whites, the warped message someone gets translated into: "I don't need no-body telling me nothing! "I'M AN INDIVIDUAL!!"
We will need to do many of the same things that successful cultures do. That means, we will
need to use all parts of our society. At no time will we expect a large portion of black America to join one group of thinking that is striving in one general direction, but I do believe that if successful, those who do, will have a huge, major impact on all the rest.

In short, we will need to use men willing to work and learn integrity ... regardless if they are totally heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual ..... urban-sexual ... et al. The main thing is that they learn what to do with that most sacred part of their body, and to mature their emotions to the extent they can create love, safety and long term continuity in homes and in the New Black Village.

We will talk more about the extremely complex issue of sexuality later. Right now I'd like to end by telling you about a little motif of words that ran along the walls of an up-scale ice cream parlor in Portland, Oregon. The words were:

"If Michelangelo had been straight, he'd have painted the Sistine Chapel flat white."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Reasons For Self-Determination

Okay ... so we can say that the lighter side of planning out our own long term survival on this planet is to simply stop "shitting ourselves" in front of God and "everybody" else on the planet. In short, by engineering our future, we not only have more fun and enjoy more profit, but we discontinue to long practice of being "played."

No more should we allow mainstream mis-leaders to co-op bits and pieces of our "kulture" and paste it in a misshapen image and face it back toward our young ... and instruct them that if they now want to be black, they must turn themselves into sociopaths.

(...Yeah, and far too many others folks who identify with being disenfranchise end up following suit too ... and then .. there goes your right-side car window and the glove compartment is all busted open ... all in search for the .35 cents you left in your ashtray two months ago, that is now going towards somebody's next hit of crack.)

"All living beings must:

  1. have food
  2. have shelter
  3. have someone to love
  4. have someone to be loved by
  5. and a means to self-actualize themselves.

~Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

We ain't getting that these days. So ... who's fault is that? Yep. (ours) Time to get busy.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Backwards Migration --South!

From the NPR website:

    "The black farmer, working hard for his own, became the living symbol of the strong, independent black man," Williams writes. "Farming also allowed black families to move into other businesses, from funeral homes to preaching to construction, and thus served as the bedrock of all black wealth in America."There is a current "Reverse Migration" going on. Just as large numbers of blacks moved away from the rural South during the 30s, 40s and on into the 60s... so they are returning."

This site is all about getting out of toxic "Urban Centers" (a.k.a. "Cities") and either moving to a rural location alone, with your family, or with a new community you either join or create. Black Solutions will soon add a discussion forum for creating just that. (Amongst other things.)

By now I'm sure you've all read that there is currently a "Black Migration back south" going on. Leading the charge south are college educated blacks lured by large amounts of cheap land, nice roomy houses, and roads that separate you from your neighbors instead of thin walls. The fact that large numbers of blacks remain in the south adds spice to the seduction."Many blacks left not only because of economic opportunities but because of the political and social constraints of segregation," said Charles Ross, historian and interim director of the African-American Studies program at the University of Mississippi. "Those things have changed dramatically in the South."The Brookings Institution reported (May, 2005) that decades of vacating Dixie are reversing. "The New Great Migration", is officially listed as the period between 1965-2000. During the Fatter part of the '90s, the South was the only region in the U.S. that saw an increase in black residents.

African Americans migrated in great numbers away from the rural south during the period between 1910 and 1970. The left for both better living conditions and personal and psycological safety ... you know ... lynching. Now that official Jim Crowe laws have been eliminated and racial terrorism outlawed, blacks are free to hear the call of the original homeland of our ancestors.Personally I'm craving the feel of a used tractor and the smell of an old barn to explore. I want to raise big dogs, wonderfully healthy vegetables, and fresh fruits. I want to feel my muscles firm up from building fences in the hot summer sun.

Urban life is killing us. Plain and simple. People who carry the same cellular memory as their forefathers who walked out of Africa and peopled the earth, are now afraid of a camping trip to their local regional park. I want to trade neighbors who fear they cannot live without drugs and alcohol for wild turkeys cackling in the distance. I want the screech of an eagle to be my morning alarm clock and wonder how my roosters are alright ... instead of worrying about the windows on my parked car.

In the weeks ahead, I'll chronical the many reasons why like many (black, white, brown and yellow) are feeling the urge to move to the country too. Hope you check in with me from time-to-time.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Let's Focus on Solutions

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix it, but...

Black Solutions asserts that Urban America has become a terminal disease that is killing black folks. (Sounds funny, right?) We don't need to run down all the facts and figures, 'yall know them...

  1. Despite all the killings, AIDS is now the Number One cause of death for black men 25 and under. (And no, they ain't catching nor transmitting the virus by themselves.)

  2. The Public Health System is now officially overloaded. They don't have enough money nor grant services to provide individuals with known cures they already have.

  3. Black Theology (black churches) are soooo out dated... still preaching that same old Santa Claus version of God, that didn't keep pace with the Space Age we entered 30 years ago... let along this alienated, technocratic, "New Millennium." Transpersonal Psychology says that "Addiction" is a spiritual emergency. Hence, we need ways of interpreting our current time in ways that will allow us to release our guilt and shame (not the guilt and shame of old Moses and his crew) as well as inspiring hope and showing us The Divine in This age.

We could be here all day just listing the problems, but it's better to go right into some of the solutions.

Check out Dr. Ridgely Muhammad of Muhammad Farms. The page is dated 2003, but maybe this will get you into some research. Leave a comment or two if you find something of worth.

Then have a look at what Paul and David Roach are doing with the West Oakland Farmer's Market.

And Social Commentary from Art a.k.a. Frank Pembleton wrote:

"I've always said that Black people are a rural people, and that we weren't meant to live surrounded by concrete. This whole western urban environment is partly responsible for our jacked up mental, emotional, and physical condition. Half of what we call "Blackness" or Black culture is southern culture anyway. Black people are in denial about our southern roots, because for too long we have associated the south only with terrorism and pain. The white man has tricked us out of our birthright. We didn't just escape from the south, we were also driven from our true homes, not in the absolute sense, for the south isn't a specific place, but rather, rural living, amongst nature, with trees, grass, vegetables, and flowers, is where we should really be. Folks don't even understand. This urban environment is partly responsible for the insanity around hypermasculinity. The whole construction of Black male identity as being only about "hardness" or toughness is directly tied to this urban nightmare we're trapped in."

What we're up against:

Why rural or farm life is one of the best choices for what ails us currently.

Land provides self determination. I remember my parents telling us how people who lived on farms like theirs back in Mississippi, were immune to the horrors of The Depression.

When you own your own cow:

  • You have plenty of fresh milk
  • You have fresh cheese
  • You have cream…

When you own your own chickens:

  • You don't have to wonder what you'll eat for breakfast
  • You can even experiment with new omelets styles

When you grow your own vegetables:

  • You don't have to wonder what type of pesticides are on your tomatoes
  • You don't have to beg or steal

~You are healthy.
~You have dignity
~You are happy
~You don't see the insides of a Kaiser Stress Clinic
~The only boss you have is the bank … and God

This isn't a lifestyle change for everyone. Yes you can easily find 5-10 acres of land with a 3-4 bedroom house on it for under $150,000 (and MANY times under $100,000) in rural communities throughout the south and midwest, but you have to have ways of making money BEFORE you buy. This will work best if you deally:

  • You have done your research and have started making money through the internet ("new economy")
  • You are NOT afraid of hard work
  • Want to live out your life peacefully or raise healthy children
  • You are a business owner and you find a rural place about 45 minutes outside of a larger city (esp. one with a college or university)
  • You're self-employed ... i.e. as an artist or writer
  • You have a valuable trade
  • You're involved with medicine, teaching, Biotech or hightech.

There are plenty of internet sites that will show you plenty of opportunities.

Urban life ain't getting no better, and unless you're very skillful in a LEGAL career field, it most likely won't provide you with anymore opportunities than it has in the past.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Purpose of Black Solutions

This blog is intended to:
  • Provide creative solutions for the problems that currently face African Americans
  • To avoid the traps of remaining stuck in "Victim Status"
  • To hopefully provoke thought
  • ... and occassionally insight humor

What We Believe:

"Every problem is an opportunity in work clothes."
~Henry J. Kaiser