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More than a year after death of George Floyd, urban farmers use nutrition as healing

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Posted at 4:35 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 16:35:14-04

Following the riots in response to George Floyd's death last year, food in parts of Minneapolis became scarce. Businesses, including supermarkets, were looted or burned down.

But that did not stop some in the community from stepping up to provide food, and in the process, they began healing.

“It felt organic to me,” said Mike Kuykindall, an urban farmer in Minneapolis, who teamed up with other suppliers to grow fruits and vegetables and give them away to other producers and residents.

“It just related everything that we were doing. We got the seeds; some arugula, beets, kale [to help out],” he said.

“I started hearing a lot of people having conversations about trauma and trauma in your body and how you can hold trauma in your body,” added Queen Frye, another urban farmer who works alongside Kuykindall at Our Roots Garden. “[We were] just exploring ways of how you can release trauma and toxins from your body, so we were having conversations about health and wellness.”

Kuykindall and Frye reached out to a friend, Ietef Vita, another urban farmer and rapper from Colorado, who supplies seeds to fans along with his albums.

Vita sent thousands of seeds to Our Roots Garden who watched those seeds sprout into food, which sprouted into nourishment, which sprouted into healing.

“We decided to do open mics at our garden and stuff like that because, you know, there was a lot of trauma after the George Floyd incident, and so we wanted to create a space where people could see us growing natural food and we could provide them with the type of healing part of art or hip-hop,” said Kuykindall.

“I was emotionally impacted by the fact that people were growing and eating during a time like this when there was scarcity, there was a lack of opportunities, there was a lack of access,” added Vita who has had his own personal run-ins with police brutality. “I felt more solidarity around the fact that I had a cousin who passed from police brutality. And so I think about what we can do to have that same solidarity of understanding. We can heal from our traumas and the best way to do that is by using right out of the garden to transform the way we can think.”