African Village Survival Initiative Conference provides solutions to economic crisis

Community gardens, solar energy and self-sufficient economic institutions will be the focus of the founding conference of the African Village Survival Initiative to be held on Sunday, March 22 at the Uhuru House.

The morning session of the day-long conference will feature an overview by Uhuru Movement leader Omali Yeshitela and a multi-media presentation designed to help participants understand and survive the current economic crisis. The afternoon session will offer practical workshops on foreclosure prevention, growing your own food, solar energy, and building community businesses. A rain barrel will be awarded in a raffle drawing and participants are encouraged to bring seeds and plants to exchange.

A joint effort of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) and the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF), the African Village Survival Initiative will provide collective community strategies to deal with the increasing economic hardships faced by African communities.

Dr. Aisha Fields is a physicist and Director of the AAPDEP. She believes that black people must get back to the concept of community in order to survive the growing crisis. “Traditionally, African culture is a culture of collectivism, not individualism. This economic crisis is affecting African people very seriously and we’ve only begun to see the impact in terms of homelessness and poverty hitting our community. If we combine our efforts, we can survive and come out stronger.”

A key component of the African Village Survival Initiative will be the formation of a working gardening collective that will include members growing edibles in their own yards and participating in shared community plots. Through this collective, experienced gardeners can share skills and members can share tools, seeds and harvests. Members will contribute resources, land or labor, according to their abilities.

Ironiff Ifoma, President of the APEDF declares that, “this economic crisis should serve as a wake-up call that our community must get organized to meet our own needs, with our own self-reliant programs and institutions.”

The APEDF is building a recording studio to provide an affordable space on the south side for local artists, and a professional kitchen for use by community groups and businesses. They are inviting neighborhood residents to get involved in these important projects.

The Uhuru House is located at 1245 18th Avenue S. in St. Petersburg. The conference will start at 10:00 a.m., with afternoon workshops beginning at 12:30 p.m., and is open to the public. Also, hear the morning session live on For more information, contact Dr. Aisha Fields at 727-821-6620 or email

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