Speaker of the Friday event, Kamal Bell, spoke about youth empowerment, nutrition and farming culture. Tha Materials, a band from Durham, opened the event.
Herban SOAPbox is part of the Herban Garden committee of Hope Gardens and is partnered with SOAP Worldwide, a community involvement group from Durham.
Bell, a Durham resident and Lowes Grove Magnet Middle School of Technology teacher, is the owner of Sankofa Farms LLC, which holds an agriculture academy for young boys that teaches them nutrition, food preparation and food quality.
“I have a small academy that was mentioned, and these young boys, to me they represent the new wave of agriculturists,” Bell said.
Bell said he wants to work to bridge rural and urban farmers.
“I would want people to know that the consciousness and the alternative food community is changing and is gonna look different than the standard agriculture practices from the last 300, 400 years,” he said.
Bell said when he was in high school he was pushed toward sports like track and basketball as opposed to academic interests.
“I really enjoy teaching, but I see a disparity with our youth, and that gives me the courage and the energy to go in everyday and deal with a lot that’s going on,” Bell said.
Adante Hart, a UNC graduate student pursuing a masters in public health and nutrition, said the next generation should learn about sustainable practices.
“I really hope that people will come out to the next SOAPbox, Herban SOAPbox events, and learn ‘cause there’s a real learning opportunity here, and you know it’s a Friday,” he said.
The next Herban SOAPbox event will be held on Feb. 17 and will host speaker Jason Brown, a UNC graduate and ex-NFL player who owns First Fruit Farms, which produces over 200,000 pounds of food, which goes to food pantries and churches in the Triangle area.