HOUSTON—Organizers of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) were informed by the landowners of the piece of land where the AAPDEP 5th Ward Community Garden sits of their need to sell the property in April 2017.
The owners have been long-time supporters of AAPDEP and the garden, offering up the use of their land located at 3707 Brill Street in the historic 5th Ward District in Houston, Texas for eight years.
True to the principles of their long-time support, the owners came to us and offered AAPDEP the first opportunity to purchase the land. In May, AAPDEP launched our SOILdarity campaign to raise the resources to purchase the land.
Through tireless work, fundraisers, car washes, fish fries, local AAPDEP branch raffles, live raffles from Zenzele Consignment and a strong GoFundMe page, we were able to raise over $10,000 to purchase the property and to save the AAPDEP 5th Ward Community Garden!
This fall, we will have a celebration of the SOILdarity campaign victory, along with an 8th consecutive season of fall planting at the garden.
A community staple
For the past eight years, the 4,950 ft² lot housing the AAPDEP 5th Ward Community Garden has been a staple in a community that is practically shut off from access to fresh produce and healthy food.
Members of the All African People’s Development Project, along with community residents, have planted wholesome, nutritious fruits and vegetables for community consumption.
The garden also serves as an educational institution for urban gardening. This notice to sell put the SOILdarity campaign into action. We n e e d e d to raise at least $10,000 by July 31st to secure the land and continue providing an African institution that serves the community and organizes the people for self-determination.
The AAPDEP members in Houston wasted no time in raising the contradictions that we faced, and with the guidance of the AAPDEP International Executive Committee, the SOILdarity committee was formed.
What is SOILdarity?
What is SOILdarity? It is unity with the land. It is our connection to our environment and ancestors. It is how we feed and heal ourselves as the African working class.
SOILdarity is the call that we made to the African community, to use our skills, resources and the land for the African community.
It is a fight against gentrification, it is African people building our own to contend with the powers of colonialism and capitalism.
The SOILdarity committee consisted of AAPDEP members Adeyemi and Kefing in Houston, comrade Robert in New Jersey, Jaleel in Baltimore, and led by comrade Ayanda in New York. In addition, AAPDEP International Director Aisha Fields took a hands on approach to this campaign to ensure its success.
The campaign received support and unity from AAPDEP members in Alabama, Detroit, St Louis and Sierra Leone. There was also great unity and support from the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), especially the local Houston branch. This was truly an international campaign.
Gwendola Archie Community Garden and Co-op
As of September 7th the lot at 3707 is now owned by AAPDEP and the 5th Ward Community Garden has been renamed the “Gwendola Archie Community Garden and Co-op.” G w e n Archie was a strong supporter of AAPDEP, the g a r d e n and a longtime 5th Ward resident. She was also the mother of longtime revolutionary Omowale Kefing.
She passed on May 19, 2016 at 95 years old. The All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project is strictly supported by the people.
The SOILdarity campaign was made a success through the commitment, work, unity, and will of the people. The purchase of this land by AAPDEP must also be viewed as a step forward in building the African economy in the struggle for economic development.
This purchase certainly broadens the portfolio of AAPDEP. We must struggle for bigger and better economic ventures!
A revolutionary thank you
We thank all who contributed resources, time and energy. We know that this community victory is not the end. We know that the garden is a resource and tool to organize our people to fight against colonialism and for freedom.
SOILdarity doesn’t stop in Houston, Texas. The campaign continues as we reclaim Africa and all of our stolen resources, as we use the skills and resources of African people to free ourselves.
We invite all Africans to join us at our 10th Anniversary AAPDEP National Conference: “African Skills for African Liberation” on November 17th to 19th and take up the charge to stand for true African development.
Forward SOILdarity, forward African development, forward the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project!