Paul Robeson Tomatoes Embody the Spirit of Healing and Struggle
At a time when Jim Crow disenfranchised, dis-empowered and generally terrorized the African American community, Paul Robeson emerged as a shinning example of black genius and grace. Robeson was a accomplished athlete, singer, Shakespearean actor, lawyer, and civil rights activist. His famous baritone voice was said to have inspired a moment of peace on the front lines of the Spanish Civil War. Robeson's anti-fascist song reveals relevant echos of wisdom for those us who confront the autocracy of today.
I first learned about this unique tomato when my granddaughter grew them in a community garden that was on the verge of eviction. Her horticulture was an act of resistance against displacement. With support from her parents, Semati cultivated six Robeson tomato plants that sprouted like fists at a protest.
Aside from the cool name, growing your own Robeson tomatoes can be an act resistance against a food system is based on profit and exploitation. Instead of purchasing tomatoes from multinational corporations that pollute, exploit, and contaminate - you can GROW YOUR OWN!
When you grow your own food, you are building autonomy and food sovereignty. One tomato plant can provide up to one month's supply of tomatoes and reduce your dependence on industrial farms that obtain their profits by exploiting farm workers and polluting our sacred water, soil, and air.
Growing your own food is also an act of revolutionary self-care. In an age when so many of us are overwhelmed by electoral politics and its barrage of political attacks, growing your own food can be a way to heal and resist. Soil scientists have long discussed the mental health benefits of gardening. Bio-chemical evidence suggests that certain soil microbes help relieve stress and combat depression. So, instead of swiping past the same infuriating posts - take a break from social media, breath some fresh air, get your hands in the dirt, sweat next to a friend and grow some organic food. When you care for your health, you will be more effective in the struggle for justice.
Robeson's voice and his tomato are hardy - full of sweet fulfilling substance. Listen to Robeson sing and enjoy a Robeson tomato. It's good for your health.