Mandela – JP013

We had the pleasure of interviewing Mandela on todays podcast. Although not discussed, Mandela has an professional history in Agricultural Economics. He founded and is currently operating the Ag Non-Profit ROOTS Africa.

Mandela and I spent these past season growing a couple of crops, compost, and soil together after meeting at a workshop earlier this year. I am certain you will be able to hear, and I hope you will relish our rapport.

Enjoy Mandela’s thoughts, and feel free to share Why you think the healthiest soils are black!

If you would like to get in touch with Mandela, slide into his DMs on IG @man_and_dela . If you don’t have that, email me and I’ll patch you through!

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edase Paa   ߡߍߘߊߛߋ ߔߊ
Modupe O
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Thank you for listening to


Transcript (automated)

MO 0:01
Peace, I am Mason Olonade and this is Jigijigi Africulture podcast. Here we believe building a healthy soil builds a healthy soul, and we share strategies for how to do both. We now ask two questions. How do you grow while you grow kale, collards, tomatoes and melons? And why do you think the healthiest soils are black?

We’re very excited to have interviewee Mandela on today’s podcast. I first met Mandela at a developing marketer, Developing Farmers Marketing seminar, sponsored by the University of Maryland Extension department. He and I quickly bonded because we were the we were both young black men. Yeah. The youngest people there by about 30 years or so. Towards lunch, we began talking and then that had sort of talked about No till Korean natural farming and then after the thing was over, we started talking about traditional African spirituality and what black people need to do going forward. We know that going forward starts with our bellies. Baba Oduno says there’s no culture without agriculture. Today, I’m very excited to have Mandela here to talk about agriculture and what black people need to be doing forward.

Welcome, Mandela.

MJ 1:30
Thank you. Thank you.

MO 1:32
Awesome. What is your favorite animal?

MJ 1:36
Um, I have a pair of socks. And they’re a fox socks man Fox. They’re my favorite Fox socks. So I will say and I still don’t know what was it? How’s that song? Go? What does the fox say? What’s the fox noise? Oh,

MO 1:53
Don’t foxes bark?

MJ 1:55
I don’t know what they do, man.

MO 1:57
Well, I have to find this out. Just in case we get a lil bit explicit.

MJ 2:00
a few of them. I don’t. It’s like some viral video about What does the fox say? What does the I don’t know something about the noise that the fox makes? And no one knows. Basically, that’s how the best the premises song

MO 2:13
From what I understand about foxes if you see them. You’re not supposed to see them.

MJ 2:19
Yeah, I’ve only seen one once man, like ran by.

MO 2:23
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

MJ 2:24
Yeah, that’s also what I liked about Fox. Anyway, that’s my favorite animal.

is like ninjas of the forest. Right? And I really like that. So yeah.

MO 2:35
Well, whatever that viral videos, we’ll we’ll put in the show notes and have it there. So Mandela The second question, or the actual first question of the show is question one. Question one. When did you first realize you were suppose you were supposed to have your hands in the soil?

MJ 2:53
Mm hmm. So I would say probably somewhere in between elementary school and middle school My peoples had some some very small gardens around the house. And I wasn’t a fan of like planting bowls and seeds in the ground, but I kind of just enjoyed holding it in my hands and later down the line, realizing that that’s really what is supposed to go with the soil is, you know, some type of some type of seed and I think realizing that it’s, it’s pretty easy to do that and come with, you know, help produce for you. So basically, that process is a little bit closer to me then than it was back then.So yeah, yeah, I would say around that time, middle school, sixth grade, to be specific. Yeah, sixth grade, I might,

MO 3:46
how did you find that specificity?

MJ 3:48
Um, I was trying to think about what I was doing inside and outside and I don’t think there were ever any plants on on the inside. I think I just remember having a lot of time spent outside My parents around that time. Hmm. And they had a lot of fun. I think just in gardens move on just housework more or less. I think I just found myself out there with them at that point in time. And not wanting to do work. I think I just played around in the soul for that for that for that data. So, yeah, yeah, I’m pretty sure that it was that that point in time. I don’t think it was in the earlier cartoons was the main thing on Saturdays. Yeah, yeah.

MO 4:32
I mean, all the cartoons and stuff at like noon. And so

MJ 4:35
yeah, man, and by then everybody had to step away from the TV. So everybody’s going outside by doing some

MO 4:41
where you actually productive in the garden now. One of the do’s and I’m in the Master Gardener classes. He was introduces. He goes out to get away from his kids. But his three year old generally follows him out. Yeah, spring one. They’re all over the place. And so a lot of them is having to redirect the water to make it actually productive.

MJ 5:05
Yeah, I can see myself doing that down the line and hoping that my kids want to follow but it’s like, Hey, your plot is over there and

MO 5:15
then I’m gonna be like gibberish yeah, I mean, you may have a you may have a plant plant prodigy, you know, I’m saying he may have may have may have the juice. I’m with it, man.

MJ 5:29
I’m totally with him showing me something earlier, you know, you know, in his in his path with with plants, so that would be dope.

MO 5:41
So Mandela, you and I, through a whimsical series of events, got ahold of 1200 square feet. Yes, I just talked about in the previous episode harvest, where you know that I shared that the chief lesson that I learned I was speaking for you that we learned through growing this year was that of abundance. How we transformed six gallon six one gallon pots of corn into 1200 square feet of space. Right. So, I’m prefacing this, because you and I, I mean, the people, you know, didn’t know that you and I were partnering together do a lot of growing this year. And everything that I’ve everything that I’ve said about what we’ve grown, I’ve said it as you and I go, yeah, yeah. So tell us a little bit of what now that the season’s over. You have some houseplants but what all have you had growing on this year?

MJ 6:45
Oh, man. So I mean, you gave the our plot.When we were growing in the plot right now, what do I have going on some some rosemary growing up? have tried to rehab some some cactus some cat died. Okay, that is a learning process. We’re sure there is some some ivy some English ivy I have growing them trying to make it a practice to bring rehab things into houseplants so I have a few a few pieces of it that I’m but I’m working on

MO 7:26
Yeah I see it just shot out that first root.

MJ 7:28
Yeah man. Yeah. I wish there were more more of them but I think, you know, you’re talking about the, you know, mindset of abundance that, you know, hoped that you that you you know, learned and developed over the season for me it’s been one of patience. So, I have a schedule to do a plant check every day, okay, and it’s necessary for me because I can see those small bits of growth over time. Don’t know when that you know As much as you want things to happen like they happen over time and I kind of have to force myself to you know learn that so that patients bid is really been you know what I’ve been devoting over over this year so yeah yeah so anyway patiently I’m growing cacti English ivy rosemary, some aloe what else was growing? I was trying to propagate some some dwarf trees for bonds eyes. And that needs to be restarted because it didn’t happen the way I wanted it to a front. Nothing really early sprouted. So I’m taking it take to one. But yeah, I think that’s that’s that’s basically what I have going on. Okay.

MO 8:46
Yeah. Interesting. What? What of the plants that we grew. So we grew Most principally corn, corn,sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, ginger, ginger, tumeric, tumeric, okra, okra Tansy Tansy right. chickpeas chickpeas missing one more Am I missing I mean that’s that’s what we grew we have our cover crop mix

MJ 9:27
that’s true and that cover crop mix which was which was dope and I decided to still leave it standing before we gave it gave it a break for the for the season so yes that was to the to the baby patch of

MO 9:41
I know

long hard fought cover crop mix of what we I mean that’s say we got to eight before the cover crops got mentioned of those eight what would you say was the What was your most What was your most I’ll leave it to you to define the descriptor It was my most yeah

MJ 10:08
um I think you talked about it a few times the carrots for one now yeah we had our our little our Creek yeah the carrot chickpea carrot Creek. Yeah, yeah. Yeah that was very cool to watch come about.

MO 10:23
and agenda struggling for a while. Yeah.

MJ 10:27
So so in between that and okra. I think that was something that I really wanted to grow for myself. Since I apprentice like years ago that was somehow that really stuck with me for a really long time.So I enjoyed watching that grow watching that develop Yeah man from from the flower to like the leaves kind of just appearing with like massive so there’s a certain amount of size to the leaves and the flowers that I’ve really enjoyed watching develop over over the season. Yeah, you know, it’s just something that we took care of, you know from the maybe not the pet the creek so much, but maybe that was the opposite of you know, just kind of letting everything flow into that. That Creek and watching things come from that I think those were the two that really were the most most.

MO 11:28
Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Then for me it was the sweet potatoes in the in the corn. I never grown corn and it’s really, really cool to hear people be like wait, I mean, we talked about on the phone recently but when people tell people that you know growing growing corn is Shaw. It really was in black.

MJ 11:54
Yeah, yeah, trying to figure out what filter you put on on the pictures man. Yeah, man.

MO 11:59
Nope. Filter no filter never filter never filter. Yeah, that’s cool, man. I guess I’m I was pretty surprised but I guess I’m not surprised by that. Okay. Because the whole reason that we grew to okra because you want to go to Okra cuz I don’t care for okra like that yeah, yeah. But seeing it develop was really awesome. I’ll put in the show notes there was this really great podcast that I listened to on okra from urban farmer podcast where it was this guy had basically wrote a whole book about okra and all of the sort of cultural uses of it. When that stood up the most to me was in Zimbabwe. It is used like people boil it, I guess and take the slime off. Yeah. Are you telling me Yeah, and use it as a as a moisturizer like is it in a humectant sort of way, which is really, really fascinating to us that that okra slime that a lot of people detest.

MJ 13:03
Yeah, I mean, I, we’ve talked about, you know, using flowers and plants for dyeing, right and other and other purposes and you know plants like, like okra, you know, the latex from sweet potatoes, you know, things like that, I think that’s always really cool to find out what other uses they have, you know, because I think part of it is like, those are things that we can experiment with on our own, you know, all it takes is all that starts it all it starts with is a YouTube video. And from there, you know, you can kind of dive in a little bit and figure out how to, you know, make that make that work for yourself, you know, in your kitchen, in your bathroom in your own space. So I think that’s always cool to kind of see what else you can do beyond just grow it. Sorry, right? Yeah.

MO 13:54
Yeah. One thing that you made me think about was, you know, somebody taking advantage of that okra thing, and maybe Some plant based topical sort of moisturizer with it with that okra why not

MJ 14:09
I mean I don’t know how people are gonna feel about you know putting that over face or anything like that you know blaming people use yes that’s what I’m saying but you know

MO 14:20
I’ve never seen a shade but a tree but I have no qualms with

MJ 14:24
like okra though. Why don’t I

MO 14:26
like okra because I’ve never had it prepared properly okay. And because I’ve never had it prepared properly I have quite a bias on this like I have with grits.

MJ 14:36
Yeah, yeah, maybe that’s why I’m thinking people are like think twice about it like yeah, I had okra when I was younger and I was the grossest,

MO 14:43
but you know,

MJ 14:45
my fate you know, but it’s like, why wouldn’t you? Yeah, I mean those type of you know benefits to it.

MO 14:50
All you need is as a as a before and after picture, but you really don’t even need a before and after picture because if you can find a gorgeous woman She puts it on her face. Yes, exactly. It’s like shit. Yeah, like Sure. I’ll mark them with that. Yeah, that’s it. That’s awesome. Fox skirt. Our third question, official question, how have you grown while growing all that you’ve got going on? We’ve I mean, we’ve started talking about Yeah, lightly like the patience thing, but would you like to elaborate more on that? Um, or rather, what was your general temperament like prior to sort of having this daily plant check?

MJ 15:43
Yeah. Okay. That’s, I think, Well, obviously, impatience. But I think that’s spread across a lot of a lot of things. I mean, you know, I’ve also talked about you know, just staying in physical shape. You know, and I’m, I’ve I’ve been great rolling into a person that understands that things take time and energy so I have been quick to like put things down, you know, because they’re not growing according to my clock basically.

And that’s been a big part of it I guess it’s really just

having a plant check forces me to gives my

checks with my body my health, you know,

a relative point in development, I guess. No, I think that’s the best way to kind of describe this it’s allowed me to, to relate things that I really want to happen with the processes and cycles that plants go through understanding that all of those take time and I’ve seen you know, I mean, I don’t know I don’t know if you if you’ve seen this, but I know there’s studies with you know, emitting radio frequencies around plants that help speed up their growth processes. You know so that also makes me think about like okay, yeah well are there some things that I can do that you know can help speed up my process in that same type of space but I’m not there yet. I’m still looking to build a speaker yeah to do that I got look I got the I got the Arduino sit sit in the closet, man. You do Yeah, you do. Anyway,

MO 17:27
I don’t know. Yeah. Yeah.

MJ 17:31
I got work to do man spread this coding out past Python right now and

MO 17:36
Amen. I’m sure you could do all this stuff in Python out and definitely in Python. I’m ready. I’m just find the right package. Yeah, yeah. Right. Right library rather. Because I mean, this Yeah, I guess there’s, we’re gonna have to have you on for a future esotericism episode because some of the stuff that I’ve read about I’m about Copper and how you can arrange it with magnetic fields and stuff like that. And a lot of the acres USA catalog has a lot of stuff about paramagnetism. I told you about the not about I mean, we talked about the circle gardening, right, showing you some of that stuff but and I told you I think I told you lightly about that book that was by Philip Callahan in ancient mysteries modern visions where he built that tower, right, that was like an antenna. Yeah, with the sandpaper with some sort of thing. But some, roughly, I think they wrapped basically quartz or copper wire around a quartz crystal embedded across these plots facing the North Pole. And, and, yeah, I mean, you can see like a definite quantitative difference and they’re arguing for a nutritional qualitative difference at the same time. And that’s

MJ 18:57
probably easier to I mean, that’s easy to test nowadays

MO 19:00
right yeah, plain Sam analysis and low mass spectroscopy spectrometer spec tonometry Don’t tell my orgo teachers but yeah, I mean, you know, and these are all things that Um, but yeah, I didn’t I didn’t know that you had the Arduino going on like yeah,

MJ 19:23
I need to I need to keep up with it because you know a little I think you saw there’s like a little greenhouse dome know that I have and I think that it’s small enough that I can you know create a little small and 3d print the case for it you know, but just have it do its work in a little

space to propagate you know, some seeds and stuff. So,

MO 19:49
I mean, I have another I have another one of those humidity domes. Yeah, we can. I mean, that’s an easy experiment in just weird I’m underneath the same. I can lend you one of my lights. And no, I mean, Or just compare the two Yeah, you know, have have one say with the humidity dome and some foam because you got all that foam in there. Some eggshell foam great, we got a whole two boxes worth. But yeah, the foam in between to lightly insulate. I mean, if we could have some sort of detector on one side to detect whether or not the foam is actually noise cancelling or not. But even if that’s not the case, I mean, having them side by side would be the most ideal way. But say say that that phone say that say that the phone for sale actually does do that. Then having them under the same light with the same sort of condition, same watering schedule that you have on their daily plant check when has the the speaker at these frequencies or not? You know, and at least say if it’s something like I mean, you could probably do it like with wheatgrass.

MJ 20:58
Um Yeah, something quick

MO 21:00
Yeah, and then, you know, you can have a shot of wheatgrass of it and see what that’s like. Obviously, this would you’d have to get used to taking a shot of wheatgrass right for to determine whether or not because he can’t be like, wow, you know what you’re gonna be like that. But But I think that’d be really easy way to do it or or with any sort of microgreens right right Herman that

MJ 21:32
Yeah, so I guess that’s a experiment on the way.

MO 21:38
For sure.

MJ 21:39
Quick one to. Yeah.

MO 21:42

MJ 21:43
I shall probably do that for the English ivy I have and see if that speeds up the root. I mean, if that will speed up anything. I mean, since it’s clear, I might be able to watch the development of it

MO 21:58
the root development, the

MJ 21:59
route the See what aspects of the planet so you know, are

MO 22:05
actually you could probably just set it up in that window. Yeah. Cuz I’m looking at I mean, looking at that bottle and top of that printer, it’s not the best spot for all that water bro

MJ 22:16
It’s not it’s not but I’ve been trying to watch putting it directly because you know, Windows Windows it gets crazy right in the beginning, but for a good bit of the day so I’ve been trying to widen the sun doesn’t hit it directly at where the where it is on top of the printer. So that’s kind of okay. Oh, yes. wanting the direct light over you know, throughout the day,

MO 22:38
which is I was like, there has to be a reason. Yeah, yeah. So and it’s there.

MJ 22:43
That’s that’s really the only reason why I’ve been trying to watch it. But

MO 22:47
well, the only thing that I’d say against it because but I guess it’s not true for the IV. The concentrated light coming from directly may contribute to our algae growth. Yeah, you But if it’s not happening with the sunlight, then it may not happen. Especially if you don’t fertilize it. Yeah. So considerations, Yes, for sure. For sure. Mandela, yes. Why do you think the healthiest soils are black?


MJ 23:29
maybe I’ll,

to me, I guess it’s I’ll put it in more of a scientific space but the idea that

black absorbs all most most most of the spectrum of the light spectrum, right.

To me, I kind of just look at

Black, the color black and its ability to absorb and Convert things the opposite it’s

sure thought this through a little bit more but I will say that


has a certain ability to absorb and convert at

an optimal capacity as opposed to

the color of white or the color yellow for that matter and maybe that doesn’t make sense but to me like if I’m touching like a like the the black top of the

refrigerator that you know, I was that I know we had been talking about that was using a cure cure my potatoes like having it on a black surface versus a white surface is going to be able to absorb that heat and bid there and admit it and use it for more purposes over time, then maybe a white countertop or like a yellow countertop or so forth. So I kind of see it as Andy white or Sandy white. Yeah, for that matter.

So to me, I think it just has a to me I think blackness has a capacity to absorb at such a capacity that it may add that it enables anything, any, any plant any life form, to really develop in the way that it should. I think you know, we both have an idea of letting things grow the way they the way they are to grow, you know, in, in, in a in a space for gardening or farming, which everybody thinks, thrive the way they should. And I think with the ability, black sois ability to absorb and have that That high, the highest of value and give space for things to develop the way the universe is to have them develop. So I think that’s, that’s what I think in terms of why the best was black. Yeah.

MO 26:18
All right. Yeah, it’s, um, what? I have to go back into the actual thing to quote exactly what you said. Yeah. But you said something and you said maybe that doesn’t make sense. And I’m saying no, it completely does because there are observances where city pigeons. You know, we think of a pigeon normally, we’re out here in the DMV zone seven a. Yeah, yeah. And pigeons. We have a pretty I mean, the dove that we have is a pigeon and it’s the gray one with With the orange Nikes on right?

MJ 27:02
Yeah, so we’re talons on

MO 27:08
with in New York, you can see all these bespeckled pigeons. They have all these black spots all over it. Yeah, your feet see, like a super, like almost all black pigeon does. And so what these researchers found was that these pigeons that live in the highest polluted environments have higher melanin expressions to deal with the environmental pollutants.

MJ 27:33
Yeah. Yeah. as necessary to Yeah, yeah, man. I mean, you know, I’m wondering Is that the case for black squirrels?

MO 27:49
Or is that different…

MJ 27:50
melanistic varieties of animals are different because it is genetic expression. Okay.

MO 27:57
This one that so Also was interesting because I look some of this up because you know we’re out here terpzone (UMD). Yeah, there are lots of black squares.

MJ 28:06
Yeah, that’s that’s the only reason why I’m thinking about that man. I’ve only seen the black swirls go hard enough to hang out on at the trashcan. and go shoppingI’ve seen I’m sure grey squirells do their thing to.

I’ve seen grey squirrels be more of the Marauders. But the melanistic ones are a little bit smaller. Hmm. I’ve also observed this with clownfish. They’re also like black clownfish. And they look awesome. It looks so sick, but they’re also smaller than their regular Nemo’s. There are a lot of different melanistic because they won’t call them melanated. That’s a very different term. Yeah, but there are lots of melanistic varieties of animals. You know, the most notable one is the Panther. Right? Even though there’s just a regular Jaguar. Yeah, I think or is a leopard. Sorry. Is it a leopard or Jaguar?

Well, you asking me I just put out black and gray squirrels as an example whatever the big cat. The melanistic variety is a panther and I’m pretty sure it’s a leopard because I don’t think jaguars I think jaguars is a South American thing. Anyway.


MO 29:26
yeah. So I won’t belabor this point, um, any longer but, uh, yeah, I think I like I like your answer. What is something that you believe to be true about agriculture that others don’t that you think that others may not believe to be true?

and additional question that I’ll put on top of this because I just thought of it no include for later is think this is actually the question I want you to answer. Okay. What do you believe to be true about us, and agriculture that may not extend towards the rest of the human population? I think that may be trying to keep this scientific. I made a pretty racial tone, which is what I’m trying to I’m trying to hit it a little bit more sophisticated, but it’s clear that black people have a special relationship with the soil. Yeah. Right. And to be even though this isn’t isn’t the case, you know, to be, I guess, objective about history, right? We knew that West Africa is called you know, various places rice coast, pepper coast, right. And it’s also interesting that that’s dry land rice. First of all, yeah, but, um, with that, there were a particular bound like it was a pre-, there was a higher value placed on Africans that already knew cotton already knew rice cultivation. And these sorts of things is something that we didn’t have to go to Rodale didn’t have to go to ACRES USA for. So these techniques that brought this country in particular massive wealth and success. It isn’t just a thing to me that showcases that. It’s just a timing thing. Like we like meaning we just had time to develop these experiences. I believe that there’s some spiritual reason as to why we have such this such a connection. And I’m asking you that same question. Do you believe that that is, do you have some agreement with that type of thought that could be extended to contemporary agricultural practices?

MJ 32:04
I agree. Do I think that it extends?

I don’t know, man as much as I want to say.

I don’t even know in

journalism, I say off the record, off the record. I mean, we don’t know how to how to answer The answer the question.

MO 32:34
Okay. Well, that and that’s fair. That’s completely fair. Yeah. I mean, I’m just coming up at the moment. But I guess, because we look at, um, well, I look at what Dr. George Washington Carver did, right. And continues to do through us, right, like you and I had discovered like you I mean, you saw what I put up on Instagram just the other day. Yeah. Yeah. Like it was the picture of him followed by your fist holding this cloud of soil. With the sweet potato route going directly through it, right, so, we are reliving history at this point. Um, prior to post Leibnitz I believe that Dr. Carver was one of the foremost developers of what contemporary agriculture is. Right? They would attribute some of this to Sir Albert be how Harold Harold. Wow, sorry. I mean he was he worked at the he was he worked in India on behalf of the British government, right. And he came up with a lot of the contemporary composting methods. And he is sort of thought of as the father of organic agriculture, although he was doing the same work while Carver was doing the same work down here. Now Tuskegee had a lot of sponsors, and a lot of them were from people who especially post one using a lot of chemical fertilizers and stuff like that. So he always had that in the mix. We’re talking about adding lime or potash or things like that. But for most he was all about that swamp muck. Right and using stuff that have already been composted, and then building compost out of what was already there. And so I guess what I’m saying is, is that rather, this is the question. Yeah. Do you believe that black people have a special relationship with the soil?

MJ 34:39
Yes, I do.

Where’s it from? Um, you know, I think I think that

I guess if I say yes, then then the question is to why You know, and I think we’ve been talking about what I think is possible that we have a certain relationship with the earth and the universe for that matter. You know, I mean, I think I think it just is an extension of of a relationship that we have

with the universe. I think that’s the best way to put it. But yes, we could have stopped it at yes I guess a few minutes ago.

MO 35:29
No, I mean, this is all about elaboration. Right? And so, I mean, we could have stopped it at Yes, but, we could haveSo I mean, I guess then looking towards the future, where do you think that relationship could take us? And another question that I have to ask just because I want to gang up on you first here, I’m gonna interrupt you, is how do you think we could potentiate that relationship?

MJ 36:01
Okay, so let me let me I guess, let me let me start with where where does it take us? Um, so, you know, there there’s a ton of food that exists across the world yet people are, you know, hungry, starving. And you know, a lot of times I see the special relationship we have as what is necessary to provide guiding models to ensure that everyone has a capacity to eat, wherever they are, more or less. You know, we’re talking in this age of globalization, a lot of times the food that we get isn’t from where we are. And that’s across the world for that matter. You can talk about efficiency or day but but I do think that is the I think what we can use our special relationship for is

providing the baseline for

more sustainable cultures, I think by providing a way for everyone. Basically. Yeah, yeah.

MO 37:14
Okay, yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think that you mean you and I over the over the over the course of the summer were like, following in one of Carver’s tenements. No, I don’t know what that word is. Tenants tenants, that’s what I use before and I guess tenements is like a place of housing, dwelling. So much for these- I got these, Scrabble words are not always vocab words. Anyway, um, which is you know what he said, which is being able to make sure that all of these techniques are within those at the farthest down below, right. Or, I apologize. Nana Afrani Dr. Carver if I butchered the quote. But that’s roughly what it is. And so, for example, you know, I guess because I, I’ve been wanting to talk to you about what we did and all this sort of stuff we may have to save that for another podcast because now that the now that now that I just came up with this term last week, which I really like, which is a for us and all of those who participate in Jigijigi we’re all siblings of the soil.

MJ 38:25
Okay, I’m with that.

MO 38:27
So all of our all of my siblings in the soil

Unknown Speaker 38:32
man where was I going with this

MO 38:37
Oh, I wanted to talk about some of the stuff that we’d learned over the summer, so that we could share it with our siblings on the soil,

MJ 38:46

MO 38:48
So we may save that for another episode, but one of them chiefly was like with the sweet potato, right? Everybody has seen what is it called? What are the things called what? tubers? No, no, they’re like what shootss out of the sweet potato. There’s a specific name for them. You know, I mean, like when you have the sweet potatoes, they’re gone bad. Yeah, right and they start shooting shoots. Isn’t there a specific term for this shoot?

MJ 39:15
Oh, my gosh. I don’t know why I was about to say

MO 39:24
is not sapling.

MJ 39:25
it’s um it’s great. 12 hours later

MO 39:33
regardless of whatever,


So you know what I had done with them. You know what I you know, what I brought to you later, was it you know, I just taken the sweet potato and just put it in some soil. Yeah. And yeah, started going from there growing from there. Now, what I realized could be done is that you basically take that thing out and Then put in some water or medium of propagation, and then you take that and transplant it later.

MJ 40:06
Right, right.

MO 40:08
But like we had found after some incorporation, those sweet potatoes were out there busting up that hard pan that happened after the tillage thing you write which is a contemporary practice that I still see even amongst our cohorts that you know, I disagree with but to each his own, you know, and and although it’s wrong, like I’m not one, I’m usually not one of absolutism, right, right, but it’s wrong. You know, there’s no this is a no tilling zone. And like I said before, in Episode Five, philosophical philosophical background episode, like we even want to dig as little as possible. So when we bought that seven pounds of seed that was supposed to be nine Really, I think I don’t remember what happened. I gave somebody some money somewhere

MJ 41:04
It was a donation.

MO 41:07
was, yeah, a donation and it we spread that all over the ground to see what would take in the beginning of the first drought of the summer, right. And we ended up donating a lot of food to a lot of local birds. So next year, they should be a lot of sun hemp and, and, and cow pea and iron and clay peas going all over the DMV, that wouldn’t have been there normally. So so they’re welcome. So everybody’s gonna get their nitrogen fixed. But, like it was really important to see that because now we have, we’ve found at least one crop that people can start growing their first year of growing and start preparing their land accordingly. Because you can eat the greens and the tubers, and then ideally leaving some tubers in the ground. Some of them will decompose and some of them ideally we’ll come back next year Hmm. If they come back next year, the same thing happens and they keep busting it up. We haven’t experimented that with a heavy duty rat population. I’ve heard that rats and, and mice and moles and voles and all these different things can smell the alkaloids present in the tomatoes, but most involves generally won’t be in a city, you know, obviously rats well, but even when we were we didn’t we didn’t have them, although we saw them.

So maybe we’ll save. We’ll save that episode for for another point in time talking about some of the things that we’ve learned. Maybe we can. We’ll save that for later. So yeah, I’ll reform question five into Do you believe that black people, African people have a special relationship with the soil, and what can we do and use that for? And so yeah, for part two, yeah. And so Like you said, um, you know, I guess this is the first time we talked about this, but this sweet potato model especially because we just grew this from the grocery store, we forgot about it. Just like the tumeric is the same way I bought tumeric expressively to forget about it and grow it again later. Yeah, the same thing can be done with garlic, ginger. And you can just cut up a tomato slice and put it in the ground too you know, or peppers, you know, even though we had I had zero success with peppers this year, but that’s next season. That’s that next season. That’s life. Yeah, yeah.

Mandela This podcast is based on a Yoruba proverb Jigijigi ko see fa tu, a firmly rooted plant cannot be uprooted. What is your favorite agriculture plant related proverbs are saying or when that comes to mind.

MJ 43:59
Can I I’ll have to deliver that in part two.

MO 44:08
I heard one about business recently that was crazy to me

MJ 44:12
for a plan that was that was related.

MO 44:14
It was it was literally about plants, but it was, if you’re ripe, you rot. If you’re green, you grow. This is talking about sales. And they were saying that some people, some person who say that I’ve had a 20 year sales career, but what they’ve actually had is one good year of sales. Right? Right. repeated for 20 years. Yeah. And so they ripe into in that first year and rotted forever. But they find that young salespeople coming into the mix generally outperform not maybe not exactly but proportionately outperform veteran salespeople because they are green and ready to grow. Interesting. And now you know, that’s nothing like You know, Jigijigi ko see fa tu, but it is one that I heard recently that I was like, diggity. Yeah. I gotta write that down.

MJ 45:10
Yeah, man I’m reading a book of quotes, and then more topic based and I haven’t got to the one, the topic that talks about generations in terms of youth and, and elderly and wisdom. That’s the next topic and I’m, I’m bound to find tons related to

agriculture. I think it’s talking about

seeds versus trees. I think that’s definitely going to be through there. So I’ll deliver one in the in the part two of of,

MO 45:51
of this episode. Okay. Yeah. All right. One of the ones that continues to ring true to me again is fruit don’t fall far from the tree. That first of all, for me that one is just super hard to say, because of the don’t fall far from. But one thing that used to happen all the time growing up was that you Me and my mom and my dad would watch a movie. And after the end of the movie, my dad would start talking like the main character. Yeah, all the time. So it would be super annoying. It’ll be mad funny, but he would answer everything. Like,

MJ 46:42
like, why he do it like, purposefully, or it just was just

MO 46:46
Yes. Like it would it would I mean, but it would also be no, like he couldn’t. He could it would happen and then he would play into it

right. So

my girlfriend and I were watching a lot of A show on Netflix called the blacklist and the character that talks to eat right before he kills somebody. He, he tells some story of something right before annihilates the Bama, right? Yeah. And so her and I were having a discussion afterwards and I was you know, she asked me a question. I was like, you know, that’s funny in the 17th century. Blahblahblahblahblah wait, wait, wait, what’s going on? So, I was telling the story to my dad and he was laughing really hard because you remember the exact same thing and I said that, that proverb to him. And he was like, Yeah.

What is um, a resource that you’d recommend for those looking to increase their agricultural understandings? a resource specifically.

MJ 47:54
I think whats One that’s been really, really?

I think bc Can I give a site? Yeah. Okay. Okay. I think you hipped me to it honestly. Was bc dash. Okay. Oh, yeah. And I guess part of part of part of why I think that’s an accurate like a resource for agriculture is because it’s one of those it’s like YouTube in the sense that you find you pick one and the related books are all kind of in that same space

MO 48:33
right? Yeah that’s

MJ 48:35
right right. So yeah man it’s been a it’s been a rat it’s a rabbit hole it’s it’s one of those rabbit holes that’s the Yeah, we’re it’s a rabbit hole for me because I’ve downloaded tons of books and have not read three quarters of them yet so yeah, man, I it kind of forces Well, for me it has forced me to grow my Understanding of agriculture just because there’s so many other books from a lot of different perspectives of agriculture so

yeah man that’s that’s that’s that’s my resource is not specific but yeah if you if you want to branch out from what you know

it’s a good place to do it and a random dig your hand in

MO 49:23
a bag Yeah, grab bag grab bag that’s what I’m yeah grab bag and grab bag Have you figured out that sweet potato name yet? The thing?

MJ 49:32
Uh No I was about to say shoots but it’s not shoot it’s um

MO 49:36

I was gonna say plugs and I was like it’s not bugs right?

Yeah, cuz I remember when, when our homie Larry Holmes was talking about it. Yeah, I need to get him on the show man. Do you have his contact information? I think I do. Okay, I need to get I need to get his his information at home. Yeah, yeah. No relation, no relation.

MJ 50:03
Sweet potato King though, man, and he had Yeah, he had.

MO 50:07
Yeah. Well, I mean, obviously we’re the part three, we’ll have you talking about your sort of background, professional background, Agricultural Economics, and going through some models that you know, you and I’ve talked about off of the podcast. But he had one where he basically took, I mean, he’d like he had his, yeah, you know, when we need to get his kids on to, because he basically was talking about how he didn’t even– I mean, I don’t even know why he was taking the course because all of his produce is purchased in advance.

MJ 50:44
Right. Right.

MO 50:45
And then, but I guess he was just getting ideas. I mean, there’s no harm in getting knowledge.

MJ 50:50
Right. Which is, and I think he was in a good space to share that as a model for farmers that were looking at, you know, markets. I don’t even know I mean, he did. It’s not like we actually really had that much discussion if he we didn’t, but I

MO 51:04
feel like he Oh, maybe he talked to us about it. No, that’s we were sitting beside him and he was schooling us

MJ 51:11
but it’s needed to, I think it I think it, it was good to hear. Because a lot of times I think as a grower and a beginning grower, you see a lot of other people doing maybe one or two ways of marketing their products. I think he gave us a good idea of, yeah, you could, and he said that he used to, you know, market his products in the same way, but throughout time, he figured out what sold best. He figured out what other ways to grow that and through his processes, he, you know, made sure that he could incorporate his children and in our process and make it something that wasn’t totally intensive for them to, you know, be proud of, to be a part of and, and, you know, take more, take more control over so I thought that was really cool.

MO 51:59
So just For the listeners sake, all right, siblings and soil. Yeah, um, his model was that he had produced I mean, he had built up a track record with his church I believe right. And it wasn’t I think it started with his church and then through some sort of way maybe it was just good samaritan incentive through the through our Lord’s through the through the OmniSicer. Thank you do the Omni sizer out of the goodwill of their hearts in the in the in the in the lab loud depths they’re in. those same people then went to their offices. And were like, hey, Larry Holmes is a best sweet potatoes on the earth. I know you want some for Thanksgiving Yeah, and Christmas. And people were like oh word. Yeah, put me down for X amount, right. Yeah. Yeah, and, and yeah, cuz I remember when he told us that he that that was happening through the church and that people could come to church and get them and then he would bring them to the office where people were because everything had already been paid for right. All he had to do was grown. And he didn’t even grow slips he got the slips from somebody else, which is also pretty crazy. And that he, I remember he had the right way to cure him. You know, you and I have grown a sweet potato ism. I don’t know did your sweet potatoes workout?

MJ 53:29
Did you eat them? I meant to say I actually have some. So we’ll have to. That’ll be part two, man, we’ll start trying it out part four. We can squeeze in on this on the other part. That’s true.

MO 53:42
We just talked about it. We should probably make a video for that train because the purple the purple necesitan sweet potatoes that we grew, even though they’re from another company that and it’s probably trading. It doesn’t matter because the technique is what matters, right like right that that you can make certain foods, especially if you spend Pretty opinion go to the organic place to get these foods. Oh yeah, cuz I didn’t

MJ 54:05
care though. They were Dave so I ended up having them as sweet potato fries. Oh yes. Oh so you didn’t eat them and I eat them and they were like annihilated pretty good. Yeah I think I dried them out and cooking them a little bit but the flavor was there Yeah, it was them yeah

MO 54:24
yeah so so so that’s

MJ 54:27
yeah that’s it I think I might do mash odd to do we’ll do enough purple mat Oh we got enough mash again gotta be some skin or some of them to keep it matched

MO 54:38
by a man that’s generally where all the vitamins are that’s what these things do it man. Let’s do okay if you would like people to how can people oh wait wrong. Oh, erase that rewind. What is one question you wish I’d asked you. Oh, I didn’t ask you anything about routes.

MJ 54:59
Yeah, we’ll see. asked me about ROOTS.

MO 55:02
So tell it what so what’s ROOTS man?

MJ 55:04
ROOTS Africa is a budding nonprofit. Yeah.

That that basically connects students here and academic institutions to farming communities and youth in farming in agriculture in Africa. So, the model that we use is basically connection and collaboration to create products to improve farming communities, from an on the ground level from the youth that that that lived there that understand what the situation is, and understand the context, the economic, the cultural, and historic context so that any additional help is coming from an African centered understanding, basically.

MO 56:02
So yeah, man, you started this in college right?

MJ 56:04
I did. I started in college with with a friend of mine. And we, we did it on our own first really just just to try to connect with some students in Liberia who really wanted to do the same thing wanted to help, you know, improve their, their community. And yes, it’s been successful. And now we’re starting to expand across East, Central and West Africa, Central and West Africa at the moment. And we’re really looking to expand across different universities here. You know, we’re considering if high schools might be a good way to do that as well. So that, you know, the the idea of what agriculture is, is, you know, being introduced a little bit closer to when people haven’t have a space where they feel like they are told they need to figure out What to do in life, you know, they can kind of figure out where agriculture might fit for them early on in their lives. So,

MO 57:06
man, I definitely see some, you know, reaching out to some of these schools, the science fair joints, so you can have, you know, it could be it could work both ways where the kids could get to every cultural understanding. And some of these experiments that you guys are planning out, you know, can be tested, and sort of, you know, like, you don’t have to, I mean, they can be tested, right, right and replicated if they if they work or and if they don’t work, then that’s a lesson in its own.

MJ 57:34
Yeah, man. That’s I mean, that’s a that’s a big part that we’re making sure exists is a documentation of the processes of the goals and really the outcomes for each of the projects, whether it’s, you know, trying to figure out what are new markets for you know, things that are being grown so that you know, farms don’t feel like they’re out. You know, from what from from their from their inputs or Just better ways to grow like in the same way, in the same sense that we’ve, you know, been been working this last season is is trying to find inexpensive and feasible ways to really, you know,

feed the feed feed the community. So,

that is that is where roots Africa is now and and a few years, I’m speaking into existence, you know, we’ll be we’ll be across the US that noise and

yeah, we’ll be we’ll be across the US, you know, we’ll be across Africa and, you know, I really want to make sure that you know, we as African people are part of this as much as possible. You know, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of a that doesn’t come from a roots from rooted perspective, I guess, you know, because there’s a lot of top down perspectives. I think that that permeate Unity development. And this is this is to help combat that really more or less is to is to bring bring youth in so that over time, whatever they see development to be, that is what’s going on. So, yeah.

MO 59:14
So when I think it was the first time that we went out to what was new research garden, you had shared with me a lot of the what some of your thoughts about what it was like to go home? Yeah, yeah. We’re right on time because I don’t want to, I mean, we’re about an hour, we can keep going until usually an hour. This is the first time we’re determining I mean, and I was, like, appropriate for for an interview that’s, you know, in my in my research, you know, just to get real meta podcast with it. You know, like, it’s been pretty interesting, but I believe that this would be a nice way to To close it out, I guess I mean, yeah, I mean, or we can save it for another thing. Or we could just keep talking and chat.

MJ 1:00:10
Yeah, I’m done. We can chop it. We can I mean, it’s up to you it’s your. Your deal but um

MO 1:00:17
so just a refocus Yes. Uh I remember being enraptured with the details that you were giving me about what it was like to go back because I mean, I’ve never even left the United States and the majority of my time has been spent in chocolate city right and and it’s and and more importantly PG County because it’s only been recently that although all most all of all of my growing has been done within the diamond district, but you going home to do that work? If you can give me it although I disagree with Messianism and all of its forms for the ease of communication one adjective of that would be?

MJ 1:01:08
one adjective. Humbling. I think it was humbling.

Because as much as I think that, you know, you can do your reading and you can have your conversations, you know, and think that you have a understanding of you know, what the diaspora is like. But I think to me, being there kind of gave me a different perspective.

I think just being around the being on the continent, I think just kind of opened my eyes to what that what it’s like to,

To be on black land was humbling. I think it was just a completely different feeling like as soon as my feet hit the ground is just completely different feeling. And I think that that, because that’s what it was, you know, we can talk about who came who did this and that, but, but

there’s a feeling there because we are there that I think that I’ve never felt on that scale. Maybe that’s what it is. Maybe that that was part of that.

MO 1:02:43
Yeah, I mean, the scale is your entire being Yeah, man. You can’t find that at a concert. or something like that.

MJ 1:02:50
mean, cuz it’s like you can see I mean, it’s like on a map. Yeah, you can see it, you know, on a video you can see it but to be there I think was just completely different.

So yeah, man, maybe I picked the wrong adjective.

MO 1:03:03
No, you didn’t pick the wrong one. You can only pick one so like you can now that that question indescribable perfect.

Yeah, you can keep going. Yeah. You can hit us with the whole litany,

MJ 1:03:18
The humbling experience was indescribable. maybe that’s the best way to Yeah, yeah. Anyway, I’m trying to go back. I will be going back. skirt the skirt the try. I will be back very soon.

MO 1:03:32
yeah, I’d be sick too. It’ll be sick to have. You know, you know, we’ve evolved Nu-Ray Research Garden into Nu-Ray Research Group. Yeah, you’re a research group. Sponsor some sort

MJ 1:03:43
of conference. Yeah, yeah. on the continent.

MO 1:03:48
Or even to have you know, I mean, I can’t wait to start speaking to folks on the continent through Jigjigi. You know, Yeah man i mean i i really can’t wait to go back but you know it was a enormous and I mean I’ve it was an indescribable amount of honor that it was to me to have you join me– seek me out– to grow together I don’t know if I mean I’ve told you this how many times but I will continue to tell you that you don’t know how powerful that was for me, especially after hearing that right for you to display that amount of trust within me was you know from the you know, I think that was like after the second farmers marketing thing that you were like, don’t you live in DC somewhere? Do you live near this place where you don’t live near?

MJ 1:04:54
You know, think I think part of it too. I mean, you know, you’re saying like, you know, we have black people We have a certain you know, a special connection and with with the soil and in the moment, I want to say that I think when I went to visit it and you know before before I asked you

I think something told me to not seek help, but you know, bring more bring more than here. So, I think that was part I think that was and I think in hearing that to me that meant

I think you just came to mind automatically, you know, so yeah, man. As much as it was, I mean, we I think we both grown together from that. For sure, for sure. For sure. Yeah, man. So you know, I appreciate you saying sand sand. Yeah. So is the is the the stone of the start of many, many great things for sure, Shay.

MO 1:06:03
Yeah, yeah, the I know that we’ve we’ve talked on our own about some of the opportunities that you’re learning about through ROOTS. It was crazy to me to hear about, you know, like you had already spread out to Uganda. That was really awesome to hear. because me and it and it is inspiring to me to get my act together, because it should be nothing. If you can get a whole chapter of this thing that you had originally had as a just a nascent idea. Started in a whole different country on a whole nother side of the OmniSicer’s green earth, right. Green and Blue Earth Yeah. I for sure can get off of my behind and holler at somebody to say, hey, I’d like to talk to you for an hour plus.

MJ 1:07:08
Big Facts man, I mean, you know, I think we both we both understand that people are always looking for, you know, connections, you know, we’re looking to connect and looking looking to grow, you know, is and, and the soil is those and it’s the interactions that, you know, improve growth. Right. And I think that that is is kind of a principle that sticks with me a lot. You know, I know we were talking, I know you the idea of Messianism. Um, you know, it’s something that we’re both conscious about, and I think to me, it’s more of understanding that there are interactions

that exist that you know, just can use additional interactions, you know, to develop and grow, I think is a big part of part of that to me. So, you know, my interaction with the soil, I felt it could be better if there was if you and I had, you know, a stronger interaction, you know, in that in that sense, so

MO 1:08:18
yeah, man, I was even what you’re saying about the interactions, improving the connection, or I need to figure out a better way to take notes. It’s hard to take in a conversation, but I wish I could go back and quote it but interactions improving growth is what you said.

MJ 1:08:39

MO 1:08:40
And how true that is, and how different that is in say, in a monocultural capacity, versus a polyculture. Yeah. acity Yeah. versus a soilless capacity as we were learning about right. You know, or even just with what We were doing in the soil and trying to leave it for, you know, to, to let go and let grow right to, for it to just do its thing, right, it’s too much assistance is going to hamper it’s thriving. And you know, it’s it’s it’s because of plant you know we believe that the plant wants to flourish, right? And so all we need to do is facilitate that happening rather than trying to make it. And I mean, it could be argued that that is one of the same but we know that to be very different, not mutually exclusive. But yeah, when we think about you know, letting letting stuff grow and letting these soil microbe interactions happen that lead the soil microbe plant interactions happen. And then even you know on the you know having you know being graced that one day by pretty low pretty yellow foot

MJ 1:10:10
li’l pretty

lil pretty yellow

MO 1:10:13
pretty yellow foot and the the very you know, don’t call me Tabby who did not care about us at all but it was making sure that none of our stuff although I think that he messed up once because you remember on the gram I was talking about that black corn and I was saying Do I need to build a scarecrow? I was thinking about the afterwards and it looked like mice damage i think that i think because that corn had already had you had been so leaning Yeah. And that amount of lean especially once we propped it up on that IKEA box whatever that thing was that I that I found in the alley. It provided a nice ramp, causeway to get up there and grub on it right yeah, cuz i was i was i was inspecting it later because I was like Oh yeah, it could have been a bird like Gaga. Gaga, Gaga, Gaga, Gaga, Gaga Gaga look like money boost type. Yeah cuz I would expect you to see a little bit more holes if it were just Beak Thank you. Yes, but

MJ 1:11:14
beak and slips word of the day where it’s leaking again? Geez yeah man

MO 1:11:25
if you’d like people to how can people contact you though Graham,

MJ 1:11:31
you hit me on the gram at man_and_dela. You want to say something with them? underscores? Yeah, ma n. Oh, yeah. Man_and_dela

MO 1:11:45
How do you spell belts Mr. de la. I used to put a three in the in instead of the E but I remember the first time that I met you I was like, yo, what’s your thing and you were like, Oh, is this me? Oh wait, that’s the old one.

MJ 1:11:58
Yeah, I’ve ever friend that changes His name every single time he has a pitcher and describes the pitcher. It’s kind of cool. It’s kind of cool. Like his last one was, it was like, flowers in a tomato. And that was his like name. But the last thing he posted was like flowers and oh, that’s that’s Yeah, yeah, he makes that anyway so is it was it a caption just like emojis or something that was for the pitcher? Yeah, it is he is He that thing? I think it’s like some quotes like there’s something long there to it. But anyway, is man_and_dela.

MO 1:12:36
All right. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. And if and if, um, if you’d like to contact Mandela and you’re not on the gram, you can contact me. And and, and I’ll and I’ll patch you through. For sure. So sure, I guess for part one of our sibling with the soil. Mandela wanna extend a many many thanks Say medase PA to Mandela for sharing his wisdom and experience please visit for the full show notes leave us a five star review on iTunes or wherever you stream us on. I didn’t even follow the script let me follow the script leave us a five star review on all the streaming platforms you listen to and we will say then as we will say as we say now, Asante Sana Medase Pa Modupe O. Thank you for listening to Jigijigi. Peace