Volume 6, Number 13 March 31, 2003
by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin Muhammad
Here at Muhammad Farms we are pleased to see the increased desire of our people to want produce from our farm and from the other Black farmers. For a long time Black people have shown no desire to support Black farmers nor have they had an awareness of diet as a contributing cause to most of their health related problems.
When we get calls or emails from potential customers who want to buy their "groceries" from Muhammad Farms, we hate to disappoint them by telling them that we do not grow "groceries". We understand that most people have no idea as to how the food system works. All they know is that whenever they go to the restaurant they can just go to the menu or salad bar and choose whatever they like. They can wake up in the middle of the night and have a craving for something and just go out or even pick up the phone and bam, their desire is fulfilled.
Many people now want to know how they can support Black farmers and purchase food from them. I have published many articles concerning the plight of the Black farmers, but I have yet failed to properly educate the people of the underlying structure that causes the problem
To be very blunt, the whole infrastructure by which Black farmers grew food and sold it to Black people has been destroyed. It simply is not there. "Integration", "urban removal", "benign neglect" and blind faith in the goodness of white folk took care of that.
Think of a wide river that once used to be spanned by a large bridge. People went back and forth across that bridge everyday and never thought about its importance. However, one day it was bombed and now there is no other way to cross over to the other side of the river. You may be able to see the people on the other side but you can not reach out to them. You may have worked on the other side of that bridge and be able to see your factory, but without the bridge you canít get to work. They, good white folk, keep promising you that they will build you another bigger and better bridge, while you sit on the other side and suffer. You wonít even buy a boat because some "negroes" keep telling you that would offend the good white folk who promised you a new bridge.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave us an economic blueprint back in 1963. If we had followed that blueprint and not gotten off the path we would not be in our current non-productive predicament. Now is the time to pull that blueprint back out and use it. You will find it on pages 173-175 of "Message to the Black Man."
When I heard the Honorable Elijah Muhammad say that agriculture is the root of civilization, I changed my major in undergraduate school from architectural engineering to agricultural economics. Since then I went on to achieve a PhD in agricultural economics from Michigan State University. I taught agricultural economics in college. I have operated a 1600 acre farm since 1995. I have fought the USDA for and along with Black farmers. I know this white manís system and I joined the Nation of Islam because it has the only solution to our economic difficulties as Black people in the wilderness of North America. We tried integration and got nothing but an opportunity to integrate the low morals of this decadent society into our now destroyed homes and communities. We let the poison in and now wonder, why are we all sick? Now our neighborhoods do not have grocery stores, but they are building drugstores on every major corner. Why?
First of all let us define "groceries". Groceries include raw fruits and vegetables, meats, milk, fish, eggs, canned fruits and vegetables, frozen fruits and vegetables, processed food products, soft drinks, flour, sugar and spices. No one farm produces "groceries". You need a whole system of farms, trucks, storage and processing facilities and the financial institutions to back all of these things up to produce a shopping cart of "groceries".
There are two solutions to how you can buy from Black farmers and save your life. Plan 1: if you live in a city, you need to develop a community of people who will buy collectively. You need to go out to your local farmers market or produce wholesale market and see what they have to offer at what quantities and prices. Then collectively you need to pool your money, select the set of items that you can buy in quantity; go to the market or farmers; buy those items in bulk; come back to a distribution point: church, home or institution; break the bulk orders down to the individual family orders; distribute the food boxes; collect the money for the next go round and repeat this process, over and over and over again. You must do this for yourself, I can not come and do it for you.
Now after you have done this for a few months, then contact me with the list of items that you buy collectively on a regular basis, then I will find you some Black farmers to grow these items for you.
Plan 2: The other way is to pool your resources on a national basis until you get about 4 billion dollars. This would then allow you to purchase land and modern farm machinery, processing facilities, hundreds of refrigerated trucks, diesel and refrigeration repair shops, large refrigerated warehouses across the country, hundreds of smaller refrigerated warehouses, a chain of grocery stores, a chain of franchise restaurants, a school for training people to operate and manage all of the above entities, and a banking and finance system to handle the investments and transactions. When you get all of this together then make sure that you have an army of lawyers and armed guards to protect it. Now you can go into the business of buying your "groceries" from Black farmers.
I have provided for you two different models for getting from ground zero, where we are now, to a successful conclusion. One solution requires that you work together on a local basis and accept the inconvenience of collective decision making and action. This communal type of behavior was the basic economic structure in both Africa and in the South before integration. The other is a more capitalist approach which would allow you to duplicate the present system that you have become accustomed to. Chose one of these solution or you can just sit at home, look at TV, complain and wait on the inevitable. Your enemy is not playing. You are a nuisance to him now. Stay tuned to http://muhammadfarms.com/The%20Farmer%20Newsletter.htm