Volume 12, Number 18                                                     January 31, 2010

The Farmer

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Report: The 12th Annual Ministry of Agriculture Conference

By Sister Donna 2X

    The Three Year Economic Savings Program and the Nat'l Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) thank you and appreciate your support of Muhammad Farms through your donations to the 3-year Economic program. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said that “There is no culture without agri-culture.”
    Our 12th annual MOA conference was held on January 16, 2010 in Dawson GA. near Muhammad Farms. MOA student coordinators and MOA members met with Dr. Ridgely Muhammad, farm manager and Nat'l MOA student minister, to discuss our plans and goals for 2010. First on the agenda was (is) our special equipment drive which is the Muhammad Farms 2010 calendar. It is a wonderful resource for gardeners and would-be gardeners. It has the time zones and the different moon phases to let you know when to sow your seeds and plant your plants. It is much more than a calendar. The Muhammad Farms calendar fundraiser will help the Farm purchase a seed cleaner and a dryer to dry, for instance, navy beans.
    The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that "The Farm is the Engine for our National Life". But how do we turn the farm into an engine? For about the past two years, the MOA coordinators have been on weekly conference calls forming articles of incorporation and bylaws for setting up cooperative corporations. We have tediously gone line by line and word by word to ensure that we have a document based on freedom, justice and equality.

    The cooperative corporation will, inshallah, be the base for a 'common sense' economic system called "Commonomics", a termed coined by Dr. Ridgely and is the title of the book he wrote in 2009. This will allow each member of the cooperative an equal voice in the decision-making process. Shares will be offered to members with a rate of return at the end of the year. Shares in the cooperative can be used for investment such as retirement, business entrepreneurship, education, buying a home, etc., and whether a member owns one share or a thousand shares, that member will only get one vote, so one member or just a few members will not have a controlling interest in the corporation. We believe that this system will help insure a secure future for our children as well as the more 'mature' membership. But this new economic system starts with food buying clubs. Joining or starting a local food buying club in your city provides a reliable market for farms and community gardens. They also bring the farm closer to the people.
    We need to get into the mindset of farming and the business of farming and Dr. Ridgely has written a new book this year entitled, “The Science and Business of Farming vs. The Art and Hobby of Gardening“. There is a lot to consider when running a farm. It is a business and the farm manager has to make, sometimes quick decisions, based on a lot of uncontrollable variables such as weather, soil type, market conditions and prices, etc; all which make the success of growing crops each season even more challenging. Farming is 'supreme management'. So practice with your potted plants in your homes and apartments, in your backyard gardens and in your community gardens.
    On our agenda was of course, Saviours' Day. This Saviours' Day we are focusing on our youth to take the vanguard position to bring in the new economic system. According to a report, 50% of college graduates who graduated in 2009 cannot find jobs, because many older workers cannot afford to retire. Of course, it's even worst for college-age youths who don't have a degree. The future also doesn't look good for younger children, as those in high school and even elementary schoolchildren unless we take matters into our own hands. It seems as though we grownups are trying to get what we can out of this world before it completely dies, thinking that we have a little more time, but let's be proactive and not reactive. Youth, become involved in the Ministry of Agriculture and the other ministries. Help us to secure your future with Allah's help. Come to the MOA workshop this Saviours' Day. If you have some ideas to share, see your local Student MOA coordinator or go to www.muhammadfarms.com and contact Dr. Ridgely. In Chicago, see me, Sis . Donna 2X. We need young people educated in business, accounting, trades - everything. Remember, everything comes from the farm- food, clothing and shelter. We need your energy and willingness to work and learn. You will be trained and with your bright minds, you can develop new and efficient green technology to supply what is needed for our new world.

    Learning to work with communities and developing an outreach strategy was also on our agenda. We want to reach out to our entire community to not 'join us', but to offer a service to them. We want to network with like-minded people who have personal gardens, community garden operators, farmers and those who simply believe that it is time to do more. So let us grow our buying clubs into cooperatively owned super markets to generate opportunity and jobs - money!

    This past growing season, Muhammad Farms did have a field of navy beans. The crop was growing well up to harvest time. Dr. Ridgely worked hard to keep the deer out of the field, but the deer ate 45 of the 75 acres of navy beans, anyway. Before he could finish harvesting what was left of the beans, the rain came and came. Inshallah, there will be a few bags available during Saviours' Day.

Thank you

ASA!