Where have you been??!

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Where have you been??!

Let’s welcome ourselves back to the soil, having deployed these techniques we’ve come to understand. What did we learn?

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edase Paa   ߡߍߘߊߛߋ ߔߊ
Modupe O
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Thank you for listening to


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Transcript (automated)

Where have you been?

Peace,

I am Mason Olonade and this is Jìgìjìgì: Africulture Podcast. Here we believe building a healthy soil builds a healthy soul, so we share strategies for how to do both.

To do both we 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?

And today, a third.

Where have you been?

It’s been over two years since I last spoke to you, my patient Siblings of the Soil, and I have no quick answer. Not that you’d expect one from me anyway.

Shortly after my interview with Dr. Zama I began my primary research, implementing these discussed theories, and moving forward I will be sharing the results of this research with you all.

However, there is just…some issues with it.

-:-:-

I started as the Farm Manager of Three Sisters Farm and Market in March of 2022. I managed a modest city plot of a quarter-of-an-acre, or just over 1,011 m2. We had bees and teenaged boys and girls.

I was featured on both television and local radio with one of my boys!

From this television appearance I was asked to contribute to a forthcoming publication that I am immensely excited to share with you all when it comes out.

As I listened back to these programs I now understand what my issue is. I then had the same issue.

What have I gotten myself into!?

When I listen back to my voice I hear a exhausted excitement. On its face it seems contradictory but it isn’t. Running just that quarter acre was physically exhausting. Moving wet, moldy, and fungal wood chips to build up sun-baked eroded soils was strenuous, dusty, and sweaty and navigating the internal landscape of my youth. That was hardest part.

On the other hand, one afternoon I asked my staff if anyone, over the weekend, had any interesting dreams. One of them said,
 “Mr. Mason I just slept all weekend.”
and another
“Yo, no bullshit, sorry Mr. Mason, I’ve never slept better than right now.”

Indeed, we were all being rejuvenated.

-:-:-:-

One morning in the fall of 2021 when I was a mere volunteer, the then manager Mr. Rickey had a family emergency and left me in charge. I distanced myself from demanding authority and asked he boys, who had more experience than I did with this piece of land, what did they think needed to be done? They answered, I gestured, and the work was done. Towards the end they spelled our BLACK FARMER with crimson clover seeds by the entrance. One of the most independent young men there said,
“On God, this is the best, well lemme not say that, one of the best days I’ve had on the farm.”

The OmniSicer gave me that one, and The Ultimate Comedian told a joke on me that day because that was the last time I heard those words. And that was a good thing.

-:-:-:-

My issue right now is that it is hard to write for this podcast because so much has changed! Where I live and record, my thoughts on whether or not there is a point to the podcast, or there is a point to urban agriculture in general, or more specifically because of
1. Rising cost of urban real estate
2. Inconvenience
3. The Economic Status of Our People
4. The Economic Nature of Non-Profits
 5. Urban Soil Hygiene?
 6. Shouldn’t food be free?
 7. The February 1st Episode kind of ended the podcast, right?

Each one of these could be an entire episode if not series but ultimately I recognize now that the issue is the issue of hard work. Facing these questions I asked myself another, again:
What have I gotten myself into? Hard Work.

-:-:-

One day, face with the reality of being late again due, primarily to being moved across town, the Brothers Jay and Bobby were pressed to get to work The same naive confidence that Jay skillfully wields to confront and navigate the realities of his difficult environment living with less-than-capable articulation turned into foolishness by leaving much later than “on time.”

His younger brother Bobby stormed up with hill after they arrived an hour-and-a-half after we opened for the day. We’re only open for three hours. When Jay finally caught up to his brother and I at the top of the hill he said,
“Aight Mr. Mason, w’re ready to work!”
“Where?” 
 “Aww cmon Mr. Mason don’t be like th—“
Bobby clapped thunder into his brothers ear,
 “See I told you we should’ve left earlier! You always do this!” And as he continued the sky got darker under his tempest.

As I began to point out the critical errors in Jay thought process Bobby not only cosigned my statements but used this as a launchpad for further insulting lightning strikes. I communicated my appreciation for his vigor, and assured him that I had this covered.

I told them they could no longer work here, not because I couldn’t have them, but because it made no sense. There trip took three hours, we only work for three hours, and they would only make thirty dollars. For most kids there is an acceptance that this isn’t about the money, but a six hour commute on public transportation in the South would change the nature of that about the money thing.

I told them I would still pay them for today because, it being a farm, there is always work to be done. They went to their regular tasks and I asked Bobby to wait with me. He was still pissed, the storm had passed, but it was only just over the tree line, the winds could change and bring it right back.
Bobby I need to talk to you.
What.
Excuse me? Normally I hate playing this card, because I hated being dealt this card growing up, but I’m the dealer now, house rules.

Bobby, what do you think you’re here for?
without making eye contact he droned, To learn how to grow and sell.
No, what do you think you are here for?
the story.

No. You’re here to get rid of this anger issue. You’re extremely smart Bobby. Even the things you were just now saying about your Brother…let me ask you a question because I see a lot of similarities between you and I. You must feel, at times, like everyone is dumb, they don’t know anything, and nothing is ever done right. Does that sound familiar to you?
Yea, something like that.

I know, because I have that same thing. But you can’t keep this up out here, this stuff will get you killed! This is what we are here to work on. I can’t promise you nothing, but I’ve got a farm full of weeds and a brand new electric weedwacker. Do you think you could take some of that anger out on this farm?

Bobby came back with the entire farm edged up, with grass sprinkled evenly throughout his brow and hairline.
“Yea I think I killed a couple rats back there.”

I received the tools as The Ultimate Comedian would, with laughter.

When the school year was in full swing I asked one of the students, how is Bobby? She told me that he was currently suspended for jumping another student, with another student.

At the end of the farm year, on the last day after we packed up the farm I interviewed the boys who stuck with me through to the very end of the farm season . I couldn’t then, but I wanted to, as I read to you from Eli Ogbe in Odu to Sow Seeds To, Lift My Arms in Joyful Satisfaction.

After the boys left I surveyed the farm one last time and before I left I poured libation to the Banana and Onion. I planted the Banana in the row of Onions that Mzee David Moryas had planted. These onions were the last he planted before he left us for the Divine Amaranthine Fields of the Sekhet-Hetepet.

I wanted to plant something perennial, tropical, and big that would honor the contribution he made at the farm by unlocking productivity and health from the soil with his time-honored traditional Kenyan africultural knowledge and techniques. This is the first regret I have ever held in my life is not being able to host him on this podcast. Luckily I was able to host, on YouTube a compilation of videos Mr. Rickey took of Mzee Moryas at the farm, instructing him and the youth. The link is in the show notes.

I settled on a Banana and planted it in the Onion Bed. Throughout the growing season I would lead tours and I would tell select folks that I would touch the Banana leaf and ask Mzee Moryas for the strength to deal with these knuckleheads! We would laugh and the tour would continue.

I opened the purified water bottle and said,
Mr. Moryas, I apologize that I was just out here, saying that I was, but wasn’t actually asking for help.

Immediately the Banana spoke,
That’s because you didn’t need it.

I wrestled with this paradox and as I thought about it I tapped out realizing it was true, when I did truly need the help it arrived, but the majority of the time it was just me and the boys.

Hearing Abdullah speak on the radio brought it home. The Farm, that farm, and many like it with the same mission, they are not farms. The Farm doesn’t exist. The farm is a ritual, sacred space. This farm is where I ushered the boys into the process of manhood and they ushered me out as a Man.

Six months later my son was born.

-:-:-

So, to answer the question. Where have you been? I’ve been in what I’ve gotten myself into and growing my son. And just like this is, just like the farm is, every day is exhausting, exciting, hard work.

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