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RE: Engaging youth and a hip-hop food poem

In response to the number of requests for clarification about the poem:

1. the 124-seconds on stage was to pitch the role of community gardening/
food security issues/ and community building around food, health and
nutrition. I suspect most everyone on these lists has a similar message (I'd
be happy to share mine with you in further communications, but that's
another day).

2. the proper line breaks to the "Flavorpak" piece are as follows (info on
ordering a copy of the magazine available on request):

3. thanks for your interest... Tom 
[lines end and spaces between lines are indicated by /'s]

From the forthcoming Winter edition of Kansas City's "Flavorpak: A Hip-Hop
Survival Guide":

"Urban Gardening: Part One/
"Developing consciousness is a familiar concept to urban hopefuls. Yet, try
as we may to become brighter rays of light - more positive - to appreciate
life and our bodies as tools for a creative society, barriers exist. To
avoid traps of self-doubt and cycnism, we build wings of our minds and
hearts, and wisk ourselves toward new directions bypassing almost
bureaucratic spiderwebs, weaved to stick us up./
"Energy follows consciousness. I stand in vacant lots, littered with debris
of former movements. With both feet on the ground, wings lift my heart into
daydreams for this earth. Within the city I live, replete with limitations
of tricks and traps manifest by concrete realities, rules to which my dreams
must adhere. But I have prayed to my stones, this plot is church./ 
"Advocating sustainable social change, I count assets while others recount
conflicts. I read across disciplines, in and out of my field. Life is a gray
world, where my participation knows both victory and defeat. I must eat. I
know how this earth must be maintained. I strive to make our goals equal./ 
"As a teacher, and a student, I must think beyond myself, to others, and the
students of others. This is also the way of the garden. Planting one year
becomes the soil of the next. Composition becomes decomposition. Fruit falls
to earth, and is sampled by spinning worms mixing beats for casings - humus,
like knowledge is passed from season to season. There is no retracing our
footprints, yet the properties are cyclical as a turning disk./ 
"Why are so many drugstores rising up beside fried food shacks, and produce
aisles smell of decay? Our urban fields are junkyards, when they could be
paradise. Gardens manifested of people's activity, and time spent in the sun
and air, among others, moving as the Maya, Dan, Hopi. Moving among the earth
as they do in Cabrini Greens (Chicago), Crenshaw High (Los Angeles), the Old
Ballpark (Kansas City). Cultivating food, economy, spirit./ 
"We must retrain ourselves to forage for food in these times of lost
markets. Food access is a critical goal. Our neighbors hunger, not from
fillings, from greens. Where water is contaminated, sodapop overflows.
Sweets abound; pills replace nutrients. The four food groups: fat, sugar,
salt, caffeine. When does it stop? When does consciousness surpass
"I want more - more people into gardens, more gardens into neighborhoods,
more neighborhoods rising up among the rows of gorgeous beans and succulent
tomatoes. Want ... for lack of a better term, I want to show how the search
for consciousness can lead one to a garden, to the place where man and woman
were born. For among food is found our paradise, the source of life, beside
water, beside air, of which plants and our species each require./ 
"Part Two:/ 
[breaks indicated by /'s]
"Politics of Food: Spoken Word Poem/
"In this, as with each electoral cycle, we hear voices addressing important
topics. Issues that require experts to analyze their meanings; spokespersons
to decipher how they effect a majority of citizens. Try as one may, its hard
to relate these platitudes to common life. There is one issue that's
important to urban and rural residents .../
"Food. It's a real damn issue. /
Without it, you better have tissue,/
For blowing your nose, drying your eyes/
In a matter of days you're hearing the cries/ 
Of children out in streets, shouting to their mother/
What are we going to eat?/
Food's a real issue, without you better have tissue,/
For drying your eyes, blowing your nose./ 
Children of the street, they know./
"Food. It's a real damn issue./ 
Take the children in the fields, planting all day long,/
Beside their father, lean and strong./
Waiting on the rain, but something's gone wrong./
It's a real damn issue. Without food, you're gonna need tissue./
For blowin' your nose, and dryin' eyes/
In a matter days you'll be hearing the cries/ 
Of the children, out on land,/
Working with their father, holding his hand./
Another year of drought, nothing but harm./
Another losing year and the bank owns the farms./
For food, it's a real damn issue. /
For dryin' your eyes, blowin' your nose/
Children on the farm, they know. /
Food. It's a real common issue./
"Tom Kerr lives in Kansas City, Missouri and is working with University of
Missouri Outreach and Extension on the Food Circles Networking Project. For
more information call (816) 482-5888."

Tom Kerr
Food Circles Networking Project - Kansas City
University of Missouri Outreach and Extension
2700 E. 18th Street, Suite 240
Kansas City, MO 64127
tel: (816) 482-5888
fax: (816) 482-5880 

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