I was given an assignment to seek economic solutions for the African -American community in a Urban Economic Public Policy class at Morehouse College. I discovered many problems. Problems in housing. Problems in education. Problems in health disparities, etc. But rarely, were solutions given. I begin to search within Black history for the answers. Meaning, despite all these problems, how did we, our ancestors manage? What strategies, visions did they derive? During my research, I came across this book "The Journey of the Songhai People." by Robinson, Battle & Robinson, which states, ' We strongly believe that along with our quest to deprogram the entire society as a solution to the problem that we must project the truth and benefits of Black People's kinship ties. We believe that the 'Lunda' people were totally correct." A later read in Chancellor William's book, "Destruction of Black Civilization" " No people in African history used the concept of kinship ties more effectively then the Lunda in the remarkable expansion of their empire. Even more remarkable than the territorial expansion of the Lunda empire was their idea of a nation as one big brotherhood.
During my research I discovered the plight of African- American farmers. At that time, African-American farmers were losing 500,000 acres of land a year and projected to be landless by 2000. I read the book, "Up From Slavery" by Booker T. Washington and ,learned of his efforts to create a sustainable model from the land up. "Caste your bucket where you are," Booker T. Washington said. He recruited Dr. George Washington Carver, who had just received his Masters in Agriculture from Iowa State. Dr. Carver ran the Agricultural Department and Thomas Campbell took he education of Tuskegee on wheels. I believed then, as I do today, a Tuskegee Normal School model could help us develop today. The solution, I concluded, was for the African -American community to feed ourselves out of poverty by supporting our farmers, while strengthening out kinship ties and preserving the land we owned. After writing the paper, I was inspired to prove it and share with others our rich history of achievements often neglected in America's educational system. I took a Desktop Publishing class at Clark Atlanta University over my last summer in Atlanta, and started publishing a magazine called Lunda- The Idea of Familyhood, when I returned to the Bay Area. Hotep was the mascot of this magazine.
In addition to writing about these "models of development", I wanted to prove my theories. I co-founded The Familyhood Connection, a 501 (C-3) corporation. Our mission was to promote programs that bring the generations together to improve communities. One of these programs was Mo' Better Food.
With Hotep as our mascot, we kicked off the Mo' Better Food Conference in San Francisco to connect African American farmers to urban gardeners with a shared vision of supplying healthy food to the African -American community. We asked: "who will supply healthy food to the African - American community?