America’s food system has changed dramatically in the last 50 years, and many people are going back to their roots, especially in the hip-hop community.
From Broccoli City Festival headlined by Future, to Hip Hop Is Green, SticMan’s RBG Fitclub, and Raury and Waka Flocka Flame’s recent video promoting vegan blueberry muffins, people are realizing how important food is to our overall society.
Hip-hop radio veteran Greg Street is one of those people.
Street grew up in Hattiesburg, MS, but he and his Dad grew most of their own food on a couple of acres just outside of the city.
“I grew up in the garden,” said Street. “As a kid I planted with my Dad doing everything from corn to sugarcane, greens, peas, okra, tomatoes, potatoes, and peanuts.”
As a long-time evening voice at V-103, The People’s Station in Atlanta, Street is now utilizing his platform to help folks understand the value of growing your own food.
He opened up the season after a call from the GreenHouse Foundation, a 501(c) nonprofit organization created to educate, inspire and empower children to adopt a green lifestyle so they can positively impact the sustainability of our resources, which was founded by Grammy award winning artist CeeLo Green and his sister Shedonna Alexander.
“We didn’t grow up gardening but we realized it was something that skipped generations,” said Alexander. “We felt that it was Important to incorporate these life skills for ourselves and for the children.”
The foundation was celebrating the success of the six Atlanta-area schools it has partnered with thus far, in an event dubbed GreenFest. Through a partnership with HABESHA, Inc – a Pan-African organization that cultivates leadership in youth through practical experiences in cultural education, sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, holistic health, and technology – students have been trained by founder and Georgia Organics board member Cashawn Myers in a variety of sustainable farming practices.
Street couldn’t make it to the festival, but he did invite a few students, known as the “MVG’s” (Most Valuable Gardeners) up to the studio to let the people know what they’ve accomplished in terms of preserving the earth and growing their own food. A week later, Street was in Lithonia to kick off a new partnership between PeachState Health Insurance and Mercy Housing, the largest developer of low-income housing in the Southeast.
Mercy is installing raised bed gardens in several of their properties, and will ensure there is space for gardens in all future developments.
Additionally, PeachState is launching a new mobile food truck that will give away fresh, locally grown produce to residents of Mercy Housing across the state. The food will be sourced from the Turnip Truck, a local food hub and distributor in Atlanta, as well as member farms of Georgia Organics.
The event was a rousing success. With support and guidance from the Atlanta Community Food Bank, 20 raised beds were filled with soil and compost, before starter plants were placed in the beds. Close to 100 people turned out to support the cause, as well as learn techniques and recipes for healthy eating.
It was the first of many events Street will be a part of with PeachState in 2016.
“There are several initiatives coming up,” said Street. “It’s all a part of people being aware of what they’re putting in their bodies now. A lot of diseases going around are really being caused by food and meat, and the way food is processed and grown now.”
And that’s just the first layer. Understanding the value of growing food as it relates to all of human existence is essential to living sustainably and harmoniously.
Fortunately, folks like Street, CeeLo Green and his family, and many other community organizations, are rallying around this essential truth to create a better future for us all.