Volume 11, Number 11                                          August 2, 2008

The Farmer

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Are we there yet?

By Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin

As we travel on the highways it amazes me how much positive attention we get when people see our trailer loaded with juicy, sweet watermelons. When we stop to get gas we have to rush so that people wonít rush us and buy all of our melons before we get them to our customers.

We at Muhammad Farms over the years have developed a good reputation for producing sweet watermelons. I have wondered why we get so many compliments about the taste of our melons. Of course we must thank Almighty God (Allah) for the seed, the land and the water that produces the melon. We are just caretakers. However, we have investigated how we grow our melons in comparison to the large commercial farmers.

We know that we do not get the volume of melons per acre that large commercial farms do because we refuse to use the amount of artificial fertilizers, excessive irrigation water and the laundry list of chemicals that they use to protect their weak melons from diseases. A watermelon is a very unique crop in how it sucks up water. A watermelon has a lot more water content than most other crops. It is designed to suck water from the atmosphere even if it does not rain. It has a large root system and a tap root that burrows deep into the earth in search of water. It also has little suckers on its vines that will attach themselves to any other plant in its nine foot reach and suck the water out of them.

Therefore whatever you put on it or in its reach will be drawn into itself and stored within its thick skin or rind. Many chemicals have a distinct taste. So when people eat a watermelon that has been doctored up, they taste a little of those chemicals which leaves and after taste in their mouths. So when they eat a Muhammad Farms watermelon they taste the pure naturally made sugar of the plant without enhancers. Thank you for your support and continue to enjoy Muhammad Farms sweet watermelons. Eat to live and let your taste buds be fulfilled with the natural flavors of healthy food.

A few weeks ago I delivered a load of watermelons to one of our buying clubs in Virginia. One of our brothers referred to me as the "farm god". It was a good compliment but it made me feel a little uneasy, because I do not feel that I have grown to the point of being a "god" yet. "God" means possessor of power and force. By that definition, we as humans all have a little "god" in us, but that is counteracted by the god in others. Therefore, although you may will a thing and desire to put it in action, you might be going against the will of others, and their power and force may reduce the effectiveness of your efforts.

When we who are parents take our young children on a long journey, they show their lack of patience by asking every hour or so, "Are we there yet?" We are Godís children and on our journey to become one with Him, we may become a little impatient as well. And in our quest to be an independent nation of gods we sometimes show our misunderstanding of what a nation is and what it means to be a "god" by overstating the level of each otherís development.

At Muhammad Farms I am just getting to the point that I might consider myself a good or decent farmer. I do not make plants grow. I simply obey the laws of nature and try to plant my seeds on time and then fight the weeds to protect them. I pray for the proper amount of rain and wait for the right time to harvest the crop. I gather the labor and equipment to pick the crop before it spoils or drops to the ground. I spend a lot of time just fixing equipment when it breaks. As a farmer I must be obedient to the laws of nature and demands of my crop, hardworking and prayerful. However, I am only doing what hundreds of thousands of other farmers are doing all across America and what millions are doing across the globe.

The setting up of buying clubs is a precursor to establishing cooperatively owned grocery stores in black communities across the country. It is a monumental task taken on by the Ministry of Agriculture, but not that unusual. Every nation of people or ethnic community, outside of the black community in America, has grocery stores, warehouses and trucks. The fact that it is newsworthy to report on the opening of a black owned grocery store in America should seem strange. Why is it newsworthy to report on something that should be as normal as going to the store to buy groceries? The fact that we have been destroyed as a people and do not do what is normal to other human beings makes small accomplishments newsworthy, just as the first steps of your infant was big news to the family. So if you have set up a black owned grocery store please send us an article and pictures, so that we can show the family that the "baby" is taking its first steps.

A "god" possesses power and force. Now on these lines I would include companies like ADM (Archer Daniels Midland), Monsanto, Dow Chemicals, John Deere, Krogers, Safeway, Kelloggs, ConAgra, Dupont, Cargil, General Mills and many others as "gods" in the food industry. They determine what types of crops farmers will grow, the type of seed that they will use and the methods by which farmers protect their crops. They determine the price the farmer will receive and how he will get his product to market. They have the power to influence Congress in the determination of laws that effect farmers and the whole food industry.

So what are our qualifications for a "farm god"? At a minimum the Ministry of Agriculture should have: 1. at least 100,000 acres of farm land under cultivation, 2.food processing plants and textile mills, 3. at least 80 grocery stores, along with a chain of warehouses and trucks, 4. hundreds, if not thousands of happy, productive and well compensated workers, and 5. hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers who stand in line to come to our stores. Then, whoever is at the head of such a large and smooth running organization could justifiably be called a "farm god". But right now I am just your brother striving to be a good farmer, motivator and facilitator for others to get busy, unite and do something for ourselves.