Volume 14, Number6 June 12, 2011
Blackstone Academy Visits Muhammad Farms
By Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad
On June 3, 2011 Blackstone Academy out of Atlanta, GA made one of its many visits to Muhammad Farms. On this trip were 35 students and 7 adults including teachers, parents and Ministry of Agriculture members. The students ranged from pre-school through high school, but all enthusiastic and thirsting to learn more about farming and agriculture.
We divided the group into teams to accomplish various ongoing tasks of the farm for this time of year. We had one group to pick vegetables: rutabaga, broccoli and cabbage. We had another group to fight weeds in our string beans field, while another put labels on our Muhammad Farms Whole Wheat Flour bags. After one group finished putting the labels on the bags, they were assigned to wash and box the vegetables coming from the field. Another group was assigned to clean the wheat seeds in preparation for the wheat to be ground, milled, into flour at our new state of the art flour mill and sifting unit installed at Muhammad Farms just this year.
In previous years we had our wheat ground into flower at another farm that was 55 miles away. That distance may not seem much, but when you are hauling 10,000 pounds of wheat on a trailer behind a pickup truck in the middle of a hot Georgia day, and have experienced a number of tire blow outs, a flour mill at the farm makes a whole lot of sense (smile). Although the quality of the flour that came out of that milling operation was good, it could not produce the finest of flour needed by commercial bakers. On top of that the bakers would have to sift the flour themselves, which basically took Muhammad Farms out of the commercial bakery market. However, with our new 10 horse power flour mill and commercial sifter, we are able to grind and sift the flour to baker’s specification. You should soon be tasting Muhammad Farms flour in the world famous bean pie produced in Chicago. This flour mill will also allow us to grind navy beans into bean flour.
After the students and adults finished the field work, Dr. Ridgely demonstrated to the whole group how wheat is milled into flour, sifted, and then poured into 5 lb bags. We allowed the students to put their hands in a sample of the wheat that we prepared. We had to tell them to just get a little in their hands, “not swim in it” (smile). They were quite pleased to see the demonstration and touch the final product.
Next we performed a demonstration with the help of four volunteers to show how being far apart from each other makes a simple task extremely difficult. We videotaped much of the activities and especially the demonstrations, because we are trying to teach a very difficult subject of economics and logistics. We had the four volunteers to grab hold to four separate pvc pipes attached in the middle and supporting a 5 lb bag of flour. We asked them to lift up the bag. Of course with four people working closely, the task was very simple and easily accomplished. However, when we asked them to slide back to the end of their 10 foot long section of pvc pipe and then repeat trying to lift the 5 lbs of flour, the task was a lot harder and in fact one of the pipes broke under the pressure. This demonstration was to show how it is so much easier to work in unity, close together. But when you are spread far apart, as we are across a hostile country 2,000 miles north to south and 3,000 miles east to west, you can expect not only to work much harder, but have many accidents in the process.
We next called on 9 volunteers to help demonstrate how a group can be exploited during the process of production, trade and consumption or how that same group can gain economic wealth under a different model of that process. We will not take the time here to explain the model used or go over the various scenarios that the model permits. Get the DVD that we produced and look for the follow up book to “Commonomics: Developing a Post Yakub Economy.” We will repeat the demonstrations and also allow for attendees of our 9th annual Founder’s Day Celebration on July 4th weekend to do some farm work and tour the farm. The theme for this Founders’ Day is “The Reverse Underground Railroad Movement” which will point out, encourage and give direction to the national trend of Black people moving from the North back to the South which was traditionally called the Black Belt. Information and details about Founders’ Day can be viewed and registrations downloaded atwww.MuhammadFarms.com.