Farm Reality

So I bought 10 acres in North Carolina.
In a conservative county within a conservative state.
Yep… a bit of, “Buyers Remorse.”

Building the first Hugkelultur mound

Building the first Hugkelultur mound in a conservative county within a conservative state.Yep… a bit of “Buyers Remorse.”

I love my “farm”
After a year, I’m still amazed when I look out the window and see all these barns and animal houses on my land. It’s like living in a post card. I also love the little “mini-forest” I have out front that sits between my the pasture that fronts the road, and my front yard. But there are hard points too:

  • I should have moved South or Midwest earlier. At 61, I just don’t have the time or desire to do all I need to make this a real farm
  • I need a tractor, but I’ve already decided to move to Northern Virginia sometime in the next 2 or 3 years. (So I’ll hire that work out.)
  • The ground here needs a lot of work. The home was vacant for 7 years before I bought it. About a foot and a half beneath the topsoil rests hard pan clay.
  • The culture. I came to the Deep South expecting racism. Being retired, I’m sheltered from a lot of that because I don’t have to kiss anyone’s behind just to make a living. But I was not expecting the worst difficulties to come from other black people.

Mr. Gilmore’s Plantation
Another thing the North Carolina culture is teaching me is the depths of internalized racism and the legacy of slavery. Many of the first slaves were brought in through South Carolina. The Klan still has three strong groups here in N.C. But on the surface, most whites are “friendly” … but they get their niggras to do their dirty work for them.

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome
It’s deep here. Transplants to the state are not only regarded as, “outsiders” … but far worse is the label, “Intruders.”
Currently the U.S. is boiling in a stew of Narcissism that like untreated trauma turns into Personality Disorders, the age of narcissism has turned into “The Age of Loneliness.” It’s not just here, it’s throughout the Westernly influenced  world of modernity. So, many of the blacks inherent not only the dysfunctional and painful legacy of slavery, but also local attitudes of “Us against Them” newcomers. Trust me… it’s a Crab Barrel here, and you’ll encounter no shortage of miserable people eager to tear you down.

Women and The Karma of NeoCon/ Libertarian/ Tea Party Politics
Black women are the fastest rising prison population. “Federal studies show that the number of white, black, and Hispanic women who classified themselves as regular drinkers jumped significantly between the 1990s and early 2000s, and Gallup pollsters have consistently found that the more wealthy and educated a woman is, the more likely she is to drink.” Gallop also found that media fueled anger towards men has also dramatically increased Lesbianism and a general hostility towards men. In short, Attachment Issues, T.V. shows like, “Scandal,” Hip Hop culture, oppression, and economics has greatly changed the way black men and black women relate. Often, if you’re a black male, when you arrive in the Deep South, you will be tested in an aggressive way by all… but the worst… you’ll encounter is from black females. This was a huge surprise.

While this was a huge surprise, it all fits in with the Karma of the Republican Right Wing agenda that has been in warp drive since the early 1980s. Social Engineering basically follows the agenda of the Norman Conquest of, “Divide and Conquer.” (In the black community, we rationalize it with the “Willie Lynch Letter.” Perhaps only good fiction, but it illustrates the way the Normans made the Brits slaves in their own land for over 200 years. All this was mapped out by Plato in, “The Republic” and all nations seem to use it to keep the ruling class in place and the masses fighting amongst each other.)

Buying ‘Back South’
In short, I was tired when I bought here. I just wanted to move in and buy a place before home prices rose. Not researching an area before relocating is listed as one of The Five Mistakes Retirees Make when buying a home. I see that I’m still basically an urbanite, and moving rural will push on you in more ways than you can imagine. The way people think they have the RIGHT to be nosy about you… they way they think they can vote on your right to breath their air, and the jealousy that some with lesser education will view you as, is remarkable. My advise is to look for the most liberal and progressive counties to move into, and rent six months to a year before buying a new home in another state.

Failing Urban Cities Look To Urban Farming

I really hate to say, “I TOLD you so,” but Time just wrote a story about Detroit becoming the model for other failing American cities. From Cleveland, Ohio to Oakland, California, mayors and city councils facing bankruptcy are accepting sad truths: “We simply cannot afford to continue down this road.” Detroit mayor, Dave Bing made that said that last month at a podium in a downtown Detroit theatre.

One of the keys to success is to jump on an opportunity BEFORE everyone else seizes it. 
Everyone has to eat. Monsanto (the huge multinational herbicide company that gave us “Agent Orange” and “RoundUp”) are feeding us toxins through major shopping chains like Safeway, Kroger, and Wal-Mart. Perhaps a mixed-blessings because those major stores no longer exist major rust belt cities. Residents  depend on corner grocery stores and gas station convenience stores for their vegetables and proteins.

The Obama Administration and the Federal Government can’t solve the problems of all the troubled cities and the predominately black, Hispanic and poor whites who remain within those cities.

Two months ago, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the ambitious “Let’s Move” campaign, aiming to eliminate food deserts, especially in urban communities, in the next seven years. The administration has committed $400 million to “Let’s Move.” –Full Time story here.

Food, Education, and Land

Detroit may well turn out to be the city other Rust Belt and decaying cities copy. Remember, corporations and the mega-rich have all but closed shop on American manufacturing. Even though Mayor Bing and the feds are attempting to sell cheap land to large business that resettle in these areas once abandoned buildings and homes are torn down, the thinking is that it’s going to take investing in schools and promoting urban farming to again create stability.

All across the country, small urban farms and garden projects are being setup by people like Ph.D. graduates from UC Berkeley and UC Davis. “Follow the money” is the tried and true thinking. When the media announced there was a shortage of nurses, people began enrolling in nursing programs by the droves. That was 10 years ago. Nursing grads are currently finding it difficult to impossible to obtain work after graduation. So if you want a prosperous, decent life, STOP following that same old carrot. Try a different line to stand in … one with far fewer people ahead of you.

Those people obtaining urban farming and organic gardening certificates will be the winners. Wait, you don’t even need education to put a seed in the ground. But it’s one thing to grow food, and it’s another to sell it. Volunteering or becoming an AmeriCorps worker for one of the many current urban farming projects teaches everything anyone will need. Just Google, “Urban Farming” in your area and find what comes up. (There’s also a host of information on my blogs.) Here are just a couple of links:

City Slicker Farms, Oakland, CA

Full Circle Farms, Sunnyvale, CA

Green Fred Blog

Black Solutions Blog

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Tribes is a short book that explodes with big ideas. Best selling author Seth Godin argues powerful and tribes-booklasting change can be best be created by a “tribe.” Godin’s premise is that top-down, un-yielding organizations led by CEO’s (or “Kings”) can be out-maneuvered by sleek, motivated little people connected together by an idea, a movement, or an improved product. Like-minded “smart innovators” can use tools like the Internet to quickly attract more like-minded people … if they act consistently and quickly. (For example look at the recent success of President-Elect Obama’s campaign. He sidetracked the big guys and unleashed the power of the powerless and, BaM! Change really did happen.)

The Civil Rights Movement illustrated how black and Working Class people can out-power a Super Power if given an idea they can believe in, and simple tools to take the ball and run with it themselves. But the 60s also showed us how entire movements can be killed when the single charismatic leader is shot down.

White supremacist groups also learned the same lessons when in the 80s, they created, “Cells” … small groups of people united under an idea and armed with simple doctrines, duplicated themselves all over the nation. Like bees in a hive, they needed no visible leader, counsel, or governing body to enlist members, raise money, buy property and equipment, and successfully market their ideas. Bad ideas maybe … but successful marketing.

Godin says that Tribes can be inside or outside a corporation, and almost everyone can be a leader. “Most people are kept from realizing their potential by fear of criticism and fear of being wrong.” (Sound familiar?) Like a school-yard bully delivering blows to the head of a squealing nerd, ideas and messages erupt from the pages, motivating the reader and stimulating change simultaneously. Any and everyone can be leaders in the tribe. The tribes success is its openness. I imagine there are potentially all shapes, sizes and types of tribes. Their effectiveness have already been shown. The entire top-down, un-yielding culture of the Pentagon was changed my one, low-level, powerless guy after 9/11.

  • The Green Movement is on the runway.
  • People are yearning to either start their own businesses.
  • Intentional Communities are springing up all over the world, contradicting modern alienation and creating safe places for people to live together while “watching each other’s backs.
  • Many of us want to move out to the country … are stopped by fears over how we’ll make a living and who’ll be our friends when we get there.

As a truck driver I’ve talked with people from The Carolinas to Yakima, Washington. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans … all yearning for something different. Many young people realize that chasing that same old-dried out carrot is futile and Baby Boomers are just plain tired of it. No, not everyone wants something different, but like Tribes states … you don’t NEED everybody. Just a few like-minded people to work with on the road to creating your happy destiny.

Visit Seth Godin online and find out about his books, download his free eBooks, and subscribe to his informative blogs. In short, join the community!

Quit The Road: God MUST Love Me Because …

“Thank you for all you’ve done … and for allowing me to eat this past year … but ‘yall can have these keys back.”

That’s right … on Wednesday I handed the man back the keys to his truck.  No more Flatbed Fred wrestles with filthy tarps, heavy chains, and dusty straps. No more unloading in frozen ice and snow. Gone are work days spent in southern Arkansas … where you can pass out before your load is secure and tarped.

Now … I’ve returned to the INSANE, arrogant California Bay Area and on the first day, I’m amazed at how well things are going. This is the same place where economic racism forced me to become a truck driver. This is the same place where I left 14 months ago and traveled to OKLAHOMA to get a job! Now, on my first day back, I already have:

  • A new job … one that allows me to go home every night
  • A new van – the owner has a body shop and someone failed to pay, so he has to get rid of it…
  • A new apartment – he’s throwing in the small apartment over the shop

This allows me to take a Greenhouse Production class out at City College. Amazing. God is good. I don’t think it’s ever been this easy. After the semester, it most likely will be the right time to pack “my stuff” into my new van and drive to South Carolina … which will become … “My New Home.”