Ietef Cavem Vita, aka DJ Cavem Moetivation, worked the crowd at Artopia, he says, for at least the last four years. But he won't be there tomorrow because he has more important work to do: Today he flies out of Denver on a trip that will eventually land him in Uganda, where he's traveling as a Bold Food Fellow to exchange ideas about food justice and urban-agricultural know-how with his African brothers and sisters, for nearly three weeks.
"A handful of people across the nation are chosen to study indigenous agriculture," Cavem explains. "I'll be able to apply my knowledge to help develop the idea of how to produce food using smaller resources -- aquaponics, urban roots, hot gardening -- from my perspective."
But he'll also be performing while he's in Africa, focusing on food security-inspired material from his upcoming album, "The Produce Section," which is set for official release on Earth Day in April. At least one piece of that garden patch -- the video "Let It Grow" -- is already circulating, though, spreading an upbeat message about the power of urban gardening.
Shot by his friend Thomas Evans, aka Detour and a "dope artist and painter," "Let It Grow" kicks off with shots of Cavem rising in the morning, drinking wheatgrass juice, riding a bike through the Five Points `hood and visiting the indoor Growhaus, in Swansea-Elyria, where there are no food markets and the air is too polluted to safely grow vegetables outdoors.
"I live across from the light rail station. I can see youth all the time through my window, and it reminds me how, growing up as kid and going to Manual High School, I had to walk past three liquor stores and the youth penitentiary on my way to school. There should at least be a garden, so kids don't have to see that in their neighborhood." He included his wife, Neambe, and his two little girls in the video, too, for a reason: "I want to show the world this idea of what a family could be -- growing your own food, delivering your own children -- and teach others to do the same."
Needless to say, Cavem will hit the ground running when he comes back. On the agenda: In addition to his usual DJing gigs and the aforementioned album release, Cavem will be throwing a fundraiser in March at RedLine Gallery for his pet project, the Brown Suga Youth Festival (where he'll show video and pictures from his trip to Uganda, among other things) and then there's Brown Suga proper at the end of April. Check back on Show and Tell for more details, as they solidify. Also, visit Cavem's website for updates.
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And for now, Bon Voyage, Ietef! Safe journey.
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