Our featured guest on our weekly twitter chat #SpiritChat this week is Anandi Premlall (@AAPremlall). We will discuss Food, Sustainability, and its connection to our ability to live the (spiritual) Life that we wish to live. Join me and Anandi on Sunday, February, 1st at 9amET in #SpiritChat on twitter. Anandi has shared a bit of her story, and her connection to food in the context of growing it, harvesting it, and sharing it! Please read, comment, share, and join us. Thank you! ~ Kumud
Food, Freedom and Spirituality – Anandi A. Premlall
Having been born in the tropical land of many waters known as Guyana, I had an early taste of the agricultural life, surrounded by coconut trees, mango trees, guava trees, banana trees, and the Amazon Rainforest as my backyard. I was then raised in Southeast Queens, and have lived here for most of my life where I sought ways to add more greenery to my neighborhood, to recreate an incredible edible paradise in a third-world girl turned city-girl turned urban-farmer kind of way.
Being a graduate of Farm School NYC, as well as an advocate of food justice and food equity, I’ve seen first-hand how disconnected we are to our food systems – where in the world our food comes from, how our food is grown, what our food is fertilized with, and what kind of measures are taken to manage soil and control pests. I have no doubt that a loss of our roots and disconnect with nature is a cause of some of the nutritional, environmental and social degradation affecting us today. Access to edible schoolyards, green space, and public gardens to grow local food in a way that respects our entire ecosystem is something that is often missing in our communities. Every time I plant a seed and come back a few days later to watch the tiny bits of green push through the dirt, I am in awe. I love the magic of the seed, soil, Sun, and water – and how they come together to create such tender moments of beauty. And I am grateful to not only play a part, but to take part in this bountiful harvest, and enjoy the fruits and veggies of my labor.
When I think about our food system, I think about the suffering imbibed in each bite we take. That is why I want to plant flowers to protect my sisters from the panty fields. And why I want to grow my own food to prevent my sisters from being slaves. I can see my ancestors in each face of the workers along the food chain. I am confident that when we have the right to grow our own food, to nourish our own bellies, and to make a living from the dirt between our fingernails, with the sun scalding our skin and greenery surrounding our knees, we will own the power to be whoever we want to be. We will then be in control of our bodies, of our lives, of our abundance, and of how our children and communities grow. We can create the world we want with each tiny seedling that cracks through the seed coat and stretches into the warmth of the sun. With each fruit tree we plant, we prevent hunger. Nature gives us all that we need in abundance.
Once we realize that the power to create change in our food system and waste stream is literally in our own hands and right under our feet, we will be unstoppable! Being able to visualize and experience our food cycle with all of our senses is not only wondrous; it also begs the question, why would we do it another way and toss our valuable resources into the landfill when we can heal our soil and grow more vegetables, fruits, herbs and healthy ecosystems?
Anandi A. Premlall immigrated from Guyana at age 5 and as a true Indo-Caribbean, she didn’t hesitate to make a name for herself when her first poem was published at age 8 and her socially-conscious art was showcased in New York City venues including the Queens Museum and the United Nations by age 9. And so, her dream life continuously unfolds with colorful experiences and bold adventures while making a difference around the world.
Anandi is the consummate eco-agricultural citizen of New York City with experience in urban farming, composting, ecological design and environmental education.
Anandi is Sustainable Communities Consultant and Artivist of a grassroots initiative known as Sustainable Queens (SustyQ),which promotes health and community engagement by integrating artistic creativity, holistic wellness practices, and ecological principles of building healing spaces. She envisioned a “Queens High Line” once upon a time and has been an enthusiastic Founding Member of the Friends of The QueensWay Steering Committee ever since. When this Guyanese native is not playing with dirt or crafting shenanigans through tactical urbanism; she devours books and uses social media for good.