INTERVIEW// Milan Anderson!

Milan Anderson

Milan Anderson, via #supportstudentgardens


Let’s Build Garden City!‘s huge citywide workshop series
How to Make A Million While Selling Your Crops in the Hood is the gift that keeps giving! Here’s our Q&A with Bridgeport-based educator & activist Milan Anderson! Stay tuned for more gem-filled interviews with farmers in your area! See you next Spring ^_^

THE Q&A

Who are you?

Milan Anderson, [I] apprenticed at Living Roots farm in 2016, worked for Urban Canopy as market manager and farm hand, obtained a Master of Urban Farmer Training with University of Illinois Extension summer of 2018, hosted weekly garden workshops for kids at El Paseo Community Garden summer of 2019 and have been an avid forager in Chicago the past year, making medicines out of what most people consider weeds 🙂

What’s some advice you have for students starting out as a professional in the agriculture industry?

You might need to volunteer and intern first go get your feet wet and later use that experience to apply for paid positions. It might take a season or two of volunteering low key for a garden, but it could pay off in the long run. For instance, I was a volunteer gardener at El Paseo and when I found out they wanted a kids garden program, since I was already a contributing member, the garden directors were happy to fund the kids workshops I created. You never know where your involvement might lead so just put yourself out there! 

What are some local resources you think students should know about? Chicago Community Gardening Association (they offer tons of resources and plants) AUA listserv, Chicago Environmental Network.

Do you have any words of encouragement for someone just looking for a fun service learning project to do?

Try and be present, really in the moment and think through the different tasks you are doing (what could make it more effective, or make it easier on others) so you can make the most of the experience.

What’s the secret to students treating each other right?

Be kind to yourself, and apply that kindness to people around you. 

Anything else you want to talk about?

Learn about permaculture (aka permanent agriculture or growing food forests), it is awesome to use this to your benefit and the ecosystem’s benefit. A lot of organic farms already use some of these practices to sustainably grow, but could add more. With climate change, it is even more important to learn about these practices that stem from indigenous people’s ways of growing in harmony with nature. 

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Can we share your social media?

Yes! ecocentric_gurl is my insta.

 


 

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ESSAY// #LEMONADE is Anarchist

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“Justice is what love looks like in public,” – Cornell West

In past writing, I’ve defined love as “a state of mutual vulnerability.” I meant it both emotionally and as a political definition. That’s how it appears, too, in Beyoncé’s new album LEMONADE as the personal reconciliation of Bey x Jay gives way to images of mothers of young black men killed by law enforcement.  Beyoncé’s happy ending for these mothers – their “Freedom” – portrays black women growing food together in a boundary-less community. Here, class isn’t a factor: literally everyone has a seat at the table. There are no prisons. I feel like it’s my responsibility to state without ambiguity that there is only one political concept that encompasses LEMONADE’s perfect reality. It’s already championed by millions of people all over the world and it’s called Anarchism.

Beyoncé’s self-titled album from 2013 is not an anarchist work. It’s feminist, yes, as Bey examines unfair gender expectations and fights to express her full spectrum of emotions.  However, the Beyoncé of that album also brags from penthouses (“Jealous”) and limousines (“Partition”) while staging many of her videos in lavish isolation (“Haunted,” “Drunk in Love”). It was a milestone, but compared to this year’s LEMONADE it feels selfish, unsophisticated, wanting for (any) acknowledgement of economic inequality’s impact on women in the real world. I believe the same way Bey affirmed the risky term “feminist” leading up to that project (solidifying the movement’s entrance back into the mainstream), it is even more essential for her more recent work to be explicitly named.  Until Bey claims her radical politics, the dream of LEMONADE will remained unfulfilled.  

Beyoncé (and Kendrick Lamar and any of all of their powerful peers) have to say “I am a prison abolitionist, I do not support borders; I advocate classless communities where people of all backgrounds and abilities can find housing, education, and be as gay as they want to be.” She has to conceptually reject the system of money ruling her artistry in “6 Inch” to get to the relaxed truth of “All Night Long.” This is an election year, after all, when influential people argue 24/7 over their plans to continue in this broken history whilst unable to conceive the revolutionary vision of community & love that  BeyoncĂ© Knowles-Carter suggests throughout LEMONADE. Enough with the metaphors, Bey: we’re with you.  Hurry up, get brave, and save the world!