Q: How has the crisis affected your everyday life?
A: My pre-schooler is home, rather than being in school (which was M-F, 8-3). My partner is still working full-time hours, though thankfully from home. I am primary parenter during weekdays. My 4 month old baby would have been in childwatch at the YMCA, while I was swimming in the pool, for exercise and stress release. We would be getting baby-sitters occasionally so my partner and I can have ‘dates’ or ‘romance’ what-have-you outside of our home.
Our extended families are mostly on the east coast; we are worried about their exposures and the shortages/negative mentalities in their communities, particularly in Pennsylvania and Brooklyn.
Q: How has the crisis affected your practice?
A: As a farmer I am also an observer/thinker. I had already designated 2020 as a sabbatical year, so I am not thrown for a loop in terms of loss of structure, as many are.
I am so busy parenting that I long for time for my practice. Though, it is right outside my house so getting everyone taken care of so that I can get out there is my driving force much of the time.
I have a wonderful office to myself, off the kitchen, where I spend a lot of time writing, painting, thinking, and marking the time.
I know that our lives will be altered in this dramatic way for many months to come, and I am finding ease in knowing that eventually I will have the time to move more deeply into my practices, and I look forward to that sinking/immersing as it comes.
I look forward to the late summer, when we may have a respite from some aspects of the isolation. I am planning my hot seed plantings in reference to this anticipation… building on my sunflower forest from 2019, I will be continuing to plant towards an immersive destination of some sort, potentially from solstice to sukkot.
Q: How has the crisis affected you economically?
A: The desire to divest ourselves of a share of our ill-gotten economic gains, as whyte ppl, has become more urgent. My partner is our primary wage earner. He received a 10% wage reduction from his employer but his long-term earning ability remains reliable. We gave a grouping of direct monetary sharing (‘gifts’) to approx 5 detroiter friends, and try to give generously from farm resources when asked. We must adjust our 12-month projections to include having elder members of our family join us… from 1-5 persons, potentially.
Q: What is the role of culture in a time of crisis?
A: Detroit culture is saving my life, constantly. The survival, love, and interdependent leadership of Detroit’s Black community, particularly the black and brown urban agriculture community, is a blessing to us all.
The role of culture in a crisis can be to ground you, to offer threads of thought and nets of safety to catch on to, when you look for them.
Detroit liberatory culture seems to me (as someone who grew up in northeast US and lives here for approx 10 years) to often be about manifesting, nurturing, living within, finding your way to… cultural structures that serve the needs of the community. They are often built aside from ‘conventional political power structures’. It is not the duty of oppressed people to uphold the institutions that oppress them.
Name: S M P
Occupation: farmer / parent of young children