Black History Era

Authors: Sizwe Herring, Green For All Fellow- Class 5

"The evidence of anthropology, now suggests that I, the Black man, am the original man, the first man to walk this vast, imponderable earth. I, the Black man am an African, the exotic quintessence of a universal Blackness. I have lost, by force, my name, my language and in a sense, my life, I will seize it back, so help me. Toward that end, if necessary I will crush the corners of the earth. Until I, the Black man, the first and original man, can arm and arm, with my woman, erect among humanity, the first truly human being this world has ever seen."
- Nathan & Julia Hare
2012 is, and will be, a spectacular year for me. It serves as a beginning of a new era, a time of conscious renewal for the world. It's the year I have been looking forward to for a long time. Hollywood has turned 2012 into a year to fear, but I welcome it. It has always amazed me that the world is in sync with a common calendar, that somehow we have united as humans to measure time. This same unity will happen as we enter a new time together.
Currently we are on the heels of what has been known as Black History Month, which evolved from Black History Week (from when I was a youngster in the 1960's). I have recently resolved that there is no more designated Black History Day, Week, or Month, we are now in the Black History Era!
Land is the basis of all independence.
Land is the basis of freedom, justice and equality.
- Malcolm X
As people of color, we have led sustainable societies since day one. The Malcolm X quote above refers to land as the basis of freedom, justice and equality. This thought leads me to my inert respect for the land, and earth. I have been a certified permaculture (permanent agriculture) instructor since 1996. I teach this applied science at many venues, including the EcoVillage Training Center in Summertown, TN at The Farm.The Farm sits on 1,100 acres of beautiful land. Residents have their own committed land management, school, store, gardens, wildlife management and mediation program, in lieu of a police station and it is a very Afrocentric place. My youth program ‘Kids To The Country’ brings urban children to the Farm for a week of unplugged hobbies each summer.
My organization, EarthMatters Tennessee has uplifted the genius of Black agricultural inventors and thinkers for more than 20 years. As an alumnus of Tuskegee, I am fortunate to have walked the trails of Dr. George Carver, whom I consider the father of permaculture in the USA. I received several impactful experiences that have guided me to become a devotee of Carver. We manage the Carver Food Park Community garden in Nashville and celebrate Dr. Carver's July 12th birthday annually. We host a Global Stir Fry celebration around August 17th each year in celebration of the Honorable Marcus M. Garvey. Our okra garden was named for Nashvillian Oprah Winfrey, and we generated an estimated 5000 pieces of Oprah Okra annually.
I mention these efforts, along with our movement at Green For All, which exemplifies these ideologies. We are forward thinkers, with the audacity to believe we can affect positive changes, both locally and globally through green collar job creation and movement building. We are Black, Hispanic, Asian, European and land-based conglomerates of this forward facing movement. Our various and sundry organizations are a tight knit family of practitioners that affect positive changes on a daily basis. From huge platforms like carbon credit (and debit) legislation, to community gardens, through connecting with the hip hop generation; to simply picking up a piece of litter, we are the movement.
Let's come together and make 2012 and beyond, the cleanest, greenest, serenest ERA (suggest era- it looks like it stands for equal rights amendment- unless that’s what its supposed to be) ever!

Sizwe Herring — Green For All Fellow Class 5

William Sizwe (Siz-Way) Herring is a dedicated environmentalist and director of EarthMatters Tennessee, a nonprofit earth education organization. A frequent classroom presenter and workshop leader, Sizwe is a certified instructor in the field of permaculture. Sizwe's organization maintains the George W. Carver Food Park, where over 30,000 lbs of organic compost is produced and distributed each year. The Food Park is the home of Nashville's only "land sculpture" made entirely of leaves and compost materials. Sizwe is also the urban coordinator for Kids To The Country, and since 1994 has led the summer program at The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. As part of his mission to bring balance and wholeness to earth communities, Sizwe has volunteered his time as a trained mediator since 1993. He uses his staff position at Tennessee State University's student center to both mediate and bring awareness of both earth and human ecology to college students. His influence was instrumental in the creation of the campus organization Gateway to Heritage, which conducts recycling, cleanup and planting projects on the grounds and immediate neighborhood of this HBCU university. He is a former board member of the American Community Gardening Association, Tennessee Solid Waste Control Board and has proud, active memberships in Manna-Food Security Partners, Green For All, the Tennessee Organic Growers Association, and the Green Collar Jobs Task Force of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

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