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May 2011 “Creating a Vibrant Community” Volume 2 Issue 4 8 Our West End Our West End Newsletter The newsletter is published monthly. 1000 copies were printed in May 2011. Copies are hand-delivered to all residents in the Historic West End neighborhood. Copies are also available at West End Library. Our volunteers: Denise Blake, Kwabena Nkromo, Mshairi Siyanda, Traci Thomas and Debbie Zimmerman and our many neighborhood distributors. To advertise, submit stories or distribute, contact Brent Brewer 404.447.0282 or email@example.com. About The Newsletter Eating To Live For the Love of West End By Paulette Richards and Traci Thomas Malcolm X remembered his mother as having “strong ideas about what she wouldn’t eat – and didn’t want us to eat – including pork and rabbit, both of which my father loved dearly. He was a real Georgia Negro, and he believed in eating plenty of what we in Harlem today call ‘soul food.’” The Autobiography of Malcolm X New York: Ballantine Books, 1965, p. 7) Here in West End, a walkable neighborhood with an active urban gardening community, there is a range of vegan restaurants that can satisfy both the health conscious and those with a taste for the flavors of down home soul food. Each Atlanta Intown enclave has its signature restaurant that can be sustained almost entirely by the local patronage of the surrounding neighborhoods. From The Soul Vegetarian complex, a long-standing vegan anchor in West End, to newcomer, Tassil’s Raw Reality, no other intown Atlanta neighborhood offers four sit down vegan restaurants within a one mile radius. "Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate,” said Malcolm X, arguing for America to become a more inclusive democracy. Today an African American family sits down to dine every evening in the White House, but, like Malcolm X’s mother, First Lady, Michelle Obama has set an example by planting a large garden to supply her table because Americans at large need to include more nutritious fresh produce in their diets. Enjoy the delicious offerings from our neighborhood vegan restaurants: Healthful Essence Caribbean Vegetarian Restaurant 875 York Avenue SW Atlanta, GA 30310 404.806 0830 Signature Items: Curry Ungoat, Jerk Unchicken, Roti's and Calaloo patties Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:00am-8:00pm Friday-Saturday 12pm-8pm HealthfullEssence.com Mutana's Marketplace & Health Cafe 1388 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd Atlanta, GA 30310 404.753 5252 Signature Items: Chili, African Peanut,Kale Soups and Smoothies Hours: Monday- Saturday 10am-7:00pm, Sunday 1-6:00pm Mutana.com continued on Page 7 This issue is our greenest ever. Enjoy! WEND’s officers, executive board, and members warmly thank our many sponsors for their support of WESTFEST 2011. Many thanks to our concert performers — Paul and Imani Duhe, Eugene IV and Dawn McClain, as well as The Wren’s Nest and our tireless volunteers. We’re looking forward to seeing you next year! In addition to our sponsors, we’d also like to thank Khaatim S. El, Atlanta Board of Education, The Honorable Cleta Winslow, Atlanta City Council, The Honorable Rashad Taylor, Georgia State Representative, West End Print Shop, J.W. Robinson and Associates, Shirley Langley, CPA, Dr. Alan Cu-Chaim, West Hunter Street Church and Kroger. Last but certainly not least, Kevin Pavlonsky for his fantastic West Fest logo (see on cover below masthead) – Brent Brewer, Managing Editor 2 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 4 7 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 4 WEND would like to thank our West Fest Sponsors ... Sitting at the Vegan Table Soul Vegetarian Restaurant 879 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd Atlanta, GA 30310 404.752 5194 Signature Items: Vegan Macaroni & Cheese, Collard Greens and Sliced Kale Bone Sandwich Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday & Saturday 11am-11pm Sunday 9am-1:30pm, 5-10pm KingdomofYah.com Tassil's Raw Reality 1059 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd Atlanta, GA 30310 404.343 6126 Signature Items: Spicy Kale Greens/ Wraps, Nori Rolls and Afrikan Carob Cake Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 12-7pm, Thursday 12-8pm, 12-9pm Friday & Saturday Sunday 12-7pm www.TassilisRawReality.blogspot.com Directory information is provided by the Black Vegetarian Society of Georgia (BVSGA). For current schedule and membership information visit www.BVSGA.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Traci Thomas, is a Meeting Planner specializing in wholistic health programs, a Superfoodist, founder of the Black Vegetarian Society of Georgia, Traci is currently working on her new book Vegan and Proud". Did you know that a Cuban cosmonaut named Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez was the first person of African descent to orbit the earth? Neighbor Paulette Richards invites everyone to visit her blog: http:// www.limbedolls.blogspot.com/ which affirms African diasporan history and culture through the serious business of doll play. BANNER OF CULTURE Only $50 Make purchasing inquiries to WENDChat@yahoogroup.com Their Selling Fast, so Pick Yours Up Before West Fest. “Add Some Vibrant Color to Your Porch” HISTORIC STREET TOPPERS Only $45 “Show Your Historic Pride” Make purchasing inquiries to WENDChat@yahoogroup.com Their Selling Fast so Pick Yours Up Quickly Come Celebrate the Malcolm X Festival May 21st Startimg at Noon in West End Park. Continued from Cover Page ... Publisher’s Corner 6 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 4 Welcome Home By Mshairi Siyanda This neighborhood is a living body, of good people and common folk laughing children and caring elders working husbands and housewives churches and barber shops schoolyards and playgrounds... Can you feel its energy? Breathing loving life into the streets and all throughout the hood The people are the rock From every stoplight to street sign You can feel the essence of its purity This neighborbood is a living body With beating hearts and laboring limbs for the love of the community Reaching out to help your neighbor There’s no such thing as a stranger here... The Spirit of unity flows in the veins of every main road and backyard A home that’s safe and reliable, Its power is undeniable Positivity resides here Like generous smiles to passersby and genuine concern for one another This neighborhood is a living body From its cranium to the feet on which it stands It will not be broken, Cannot be tainted and will not be forsaken This neighborhood is a living body With a vision so strong that future generations will reap from its love Locking arms to make unbreakable chains Practicing selflessness so that the community will gain Comfortable, healthy and whole Home.... This neighborhood is a living body Breathing loving life to all..... Welcome home Mshairi Siyanda is a preschool teacher, activist, writer, poet and performer. She received her B.A. in African American Studies at Georgia State University and is an Atlanta native. 3 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 4 Poetry Page ... What Does Organic Mean to You? either popping it in his own mouth or offering it to one of us 11 children. This experience is the root of my personal understanding of what organic really means. But I had very little conscious relationship with my natural environment for many years. Like most U. S. citizens, I behaved as if food were grown at the grocery store, and possessed practically no awareness of the source of my biological sustenance. I was an organic, carbon-based life form dependent on daily nutritional inputs for survival but totally ignorant of how those were made available to me and where or by whom they were produced. This presented a precarious lack of knowledge of the food quality and safety I needed for optimal physical and mental health. Even after a quixotic higher academic foray into agricultural study, at 27 years old I still was disconnected from my food sources beyond the checkout line. It wasn't until I met Dr. Bob Randall at the Southwest Texas Urban Agriculture Conference that I fully understood how to end my dietary powerlessness. From Dr. Randall, I re-learned that food could and should be grown where the people who consume it live. Urban agriculture offers city dwellers the best opportunity to know what organic truly means. I believe it is difficult, if not impossible, to be a full human being without a meaningful relationship with your environment, ideally as it relates to the source of your food. Our co-dependence and symbiotic partnership with Nature is so profound and pervasive that we could not survive without Her, even if we often lose sight of this immutable fact. Just as one’s full humanity might be questioned if one were missing the brain itself, the absence of a robust conscious engagement with the natural world, especially that part of it ingested by us, leaves us handicapped in our humanness. If there were special cosmic parking spaces for those without a food soul, we all could place our bodies there and be closer to the doors of grocery stores that act as our prosthetic "agricultural" limbs or synthetic "organ" transplants. We are often not well, and certainly not organic. A possible better definition of organic, from a Nkromo Dictionary of Good Living, could be: Organic food is produced by the person, family, or community who will consume it. Meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals we actually have seen alive, and we know firsthand how they were slaughtered or processed for consumption. Organic food is produced with love and care for the person who ultimately will eat it or provide it to others he or she knows firsthand (i.e. farmers’ market or Community Supported Agriculture shares). Before a product can be labeled organic, it must have been grown by the consumer or passed directly from the grower’s hands into the hands of the consumer. I suggest that it is our relationship with the natural world, and with each other, that makes a product coming out of these critical connections "organic." Should urban farmers avoid conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation? Absolutely. But a bigger issue is understanding what would make proper choices sustainable and verifiable beyond the imperfect regulations of a government agency or the self- regulated ethics of a corporate industrial agricultural company. Only a holistic relationship with the earth, water, and air around us, and with those who grow our food, will lead to authentic organic food and give us the opportunity to truly live well. Kwabena Osei Nkromo is a returning West End neighbor (residing on Oglethorpe Avenue), as well as the founder of CVC Urban Farms, a former W.E.N.D. member, and NPU-T Chair. He is now the Chairman/CEO of All Beauty Inc dba The Brow Tutor dba Brow Proz and father of two children, Kwesi (5) and Issata (3) who also live in the Historic West End. Gardening Page continued from Page 5 ... Kindezi School Second Graders visit the Truly Living Well Farm at 75 Hilliard Street, across from Ebenezer Baptist. Purchase “organic” produce on Fridays from 3 to 7pm. 4 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 4 5 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 4 The West End Cultural Connection Encourage friends, family, and visitors to seek unique experiences in the West End such as the West End Cultural Connection (WECC). The WECC is a tour that brings two well known points of interest together for an informative, educational, and fun time. The pairing of visual art from Hammonds House Museum and literary art from the Wren’s Nest is complimented by bridges in cultural awareness, architectural styles, and historical perspectives. At Hammonds House Museum a docent who leads the tour will give an overview of the house’s history, discuss the permanent collection, and explain the current exhibition. A brochure along with a children’s Viewpoint newsletter is produced and distributed for each changing exhibition. (5-6 exhibitions are mounted annually). Hammonds House Museum tours give insight into the creative process of visual art, promote cultural awareness, and encourage analytical thinking. At the Wren’s Nest the group will take a magical step back in time getting to know 19th century editor and journalist Joel Chandler Harris, his work, and his family lifestyle. The tour will provide an up close and personal connection to the man, his historical era, and the timeless literary contribution he made by recording and preserving the Uncle Remus / Briar Rabbit folklore tales. Chandler gave life to 194 such stories that he based on generational African American tales he heard while spending time in the slave quarters of Turnwold Plantation near his home in Eatonton, GA. A Truer Meaning of the Word “Organic” By Kwabena Nkromo Many people, including our West End neighbors, choose to buy food labeled “organic.” The popularity of this consumer option is undeniable. We will pay more for organic food because we are told it is better. But few of us visit the farms or factories producing "organic" food, and therefore we have no proof that this food is different. We trust the producers or government to ensure that we have paid a premium price for something special. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers this definition: Organic food is produced by farmers who use renewable resources and conserve soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. I think this is as fine an explanation as a government agency can offer. But could there be a more meaningful definition of the word organic? Terms like "holistic" and "sustainable" are bandied about so often that one is reluctant to employ them. What other meaning could be embedded in “organic?” Are we getting our proverbial monies' worth from food labeled organic? I was born and raised in Roxbury, a concrete jungle of a neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts. Despite this backdrop, I have fond memories of my father growing vegetables within our sliver of a backyard garden. My favorites by far were the cherry tomatoes. I can see in my mind's eye my father picking a small fruit from the vine, shaking a bit of salt on it, and continues on next page Both museums show architectural appointments and furnishings from the early nineteenth century Victorian era and have some cross connections formed by previous occupants. The Wren’s Nest is a quaint Queen Anne Eastlake cottage built on approximately 31/2 acres and Hammonds House Museum is an Eastlake design complete with a garden area. Joining Harris in literary recognition was Madge Bigham a former resident of Hammonds House who wrote children’s books to include Sonny Elephant, Stories of Mother Goose Village, and Within the Silver Moon: A modern Fairy Tale. Madge Bigham also started one of Atlanta’s first kindergartens in her West End home. The basic WECC tour takes approximately 2 hours and requires a minimum of 10 people. Visitors have the option of extending their tour by adding a story teller at the Wren’s Nest or a hands-on activity at Hammonds House Museum for 15 or more people. The WECC tour rates offer a combined savings for touring the two locations. To learn more about both organizations visit www.wrensnestonline.com and www.hammondshouse.org. monds House Museum a docent who leads the tour will give an overview of the house’s history, discuss the permanent collection, and explain the current exhibition. A brochure along with a children’s Viewpoint newsletter is produced and distributed for each changing exhibition. (5-6 exhibitions are mounted annually). Hammonds House Museum tours give insight into the creative process of visual art, promote cultural awareness, and encourage analytical thinking. At the Wren’s Nest the group will take a magical step back in time getting to know 19