08 Sep Make Dirt And Seeds Yield A Profit
Just before my 26th birthday last week my family and I went on an agricultural and educational trip to the state of Virginia. We were heading to meet with the President of the National Black Farmers Association and take a tour of his farm. Going into this trip I didn’t know very much about what we were in for… I was there because my dad asked me to come along. He didn’t have to ask me twice since I have a really big appreciation for farmers and their ability to make dirt and seeds yield a profit. Somehow dirt and seeds never really fit into the equation of building a career in the music industry so it’s always been a kind of fantasy in the back of my mind. At some point in my lifetime, I’ll have a farm and feed a family of my own straight from our own land.
My mother was a green thumb growing up. She grew everything in our backyard on the west side of Detroit. We lived in the “hood” but she always found a way to grow crops of her own. I loved helping my mother in her garden even though it was hard work. My Mother loved my enthusiasm and so she ended up naming her garden after me. The Victory Garden is what she called it.
Anyways back to our trip to Virginia. My Dad and 6 of my siblings went on this excursion together along with some of my Dad’s friends from Africa as well as other African Americans. We had a lot of discussions on how to bring solutions to the brokenness in African and African American communities. No one can fix the problem by themselves but if everyone realizes that they’re a puzzle piece to the bigger picture, then it’s only a matter of us coming together with a plan and in an organized way and we’ll start to see the magnificent picture of who we are come together nicely. We’ll start to see that our generation was never really broken but rather scattered, divided, and isolated puzzle pieces with little knowledge of identity. It’s the lack of identity that leads to real brokenness.
The farm was located in a small town called Boydton Virginia, about an hour from Richmond. I thought it was a coincidence that our last name was partly in the name of the town. When we arrived we were greeted by Mr.John Boyd and Mrs.Kara Boyd. Together this power couple leads the National Black Farmers Association. We were standing on their 1,000-acre property which Mr.Boyd explained to us was the original Boyd plantation. “Our ancestors came in ships onto the Virginia shores and anyone sold to the owner of this plantation was given the last name Boyd. Most Black people with the last name Boyd can be traced back to this plantation.”
I was in shock for a number of reasons. One, because I had no clue that this was what my day would entail when I woke up that morning. Two, because John Boyd is also my dad’s name… these two men never met each other, nor do they know how or if they’re related, yet they have the same name and even look alike.
Three, I was in shock because somewhere along the Boyd lineage someone saved up enough money to become owners of the land on which they themselves were once owned. A legacy and mindset of ownership was passed down for generations instead of a legacy and mindset of slavery.
I never knew that our ancestors overcame. A narrative of defeat is all we’re taught and so for many, it makes hope seem unrealistic. I never gave up on hope, I always believed that Jesus Christ would be the one variable that makes me transcend all of the statistics concerning black people that come from where I come from. Jesus rose up against the odds and so I always believed that by His power and in His name, I could do the same. I was, however, very encouraged to see other black people and more specifically other Boyds that, against the odds believed in God and held onto hope until their hope combined with faith yielded a return of Glory.
I’m still processing all that took place on this trip. It was life-changing on many different levels. In addition to gaining a greater sense of identity and healing, who knows… I might just be one step closer to incorporating some dirt and seeds into the picture and learning me a little something about farming.