Despite the lack of food banks in Compton, there has been an uprising of community gardens bridging the gap of agricultural knowledge within the black community while also providing organic produce in the midst of the pandemic. I had the opportunity to interview Temu Asyr, one of the leaders of Compton Community Garden, to dive deeper into the mission they wish to serve alongside how his personal businesses are in conjunction with the garden.
We sat down in the center of the garden by a solar-powered fountain and shared our thoughts about Coronavirus and the impact that it has made on our everyday lives. The conversation flowed fluidly into the interview where he elucidated three words that described himself while also elaborating on each. “Infinite, divine, and free”, he replied with confidence and assurance of himself.
If you had to use three words to describe yourself what would they be?
“Infinite because I know I don't have any limits and I know I can do so many things. And with that also is the polarity, so I work at creating balance and harmony. And then Divine because I've done psychedelics. I have access to my full memory. I remember my past lives. I remember why I came back down here to physical reality on earth. I know my power. I know how powerful I am and I know how powerful we are. We have that capacity to be free because I am free, you know, I've taken a lot of time to set things aside and create structure, organizations, businesses and things to make sure that no one could tell me where I can and can't spend my time. While also taking a lot of time studying law, you know correcting my status, to make sure that I'm not shadowing slavery.”
What influenced you to start your brand?
“So what influenced me to start my first catering company is that I wanted to show a different narrative of culinary arts, plant based food, and Compton as well. My first company is called Dedication Catering and it's dedicated to the city and providing fully plant based high quality fine dining food like Michelin star type food. It’s about showing that they don't play with us. We’re from the hood, but we're really out here as culinary artists. I am french-trained with 14 years of experience and I’ve also managed grocery stores, worked at fine dining restaurants, you know like we do this.
And then my second company is called Divine Spirit which is a clothing and design company. Once again, opening up my mind fully and I plan on building monumental pyramids. I also want to create parking structures, educational environments, and build massive Community Gardens essentially on acres. So design is just structured creativity. I know I have a Creator and know how to actually turn my ideas into physical manifestation and I started with clothes by creating healthy affirmations. I got a lot of metanature on my clothes and numerology.
That's just a simple way to start but also engineering because we want to build infrastructures. We want to use our magical powers for mathematical purposes. And really bridge those gaps as well so that way we don't mystify spiritually; we don't mystify what magic is and things in that nature such as rituals. Every mathematical equation is a ritual. So just really bringing spirituality to the forefront and into the mainstream. That's really what Divine Spirit is about. Like it just makes you think even the way we wear clothes. Why can't we wear clothes full of metanature? Instead of wearing GG’s and LV’s we should want ankh’s all over our clothes. It doesn’t have to be some spookied egyptology thing like nah, that's how we communicate through symbolism. And this is the way we learn how to condense that symbolism to a way where it's really easy to comprehend.”
How did you get tied into Compton Community garden?
“My catering company works with the garden, we get our food from there to cater. And then I started learning from Dr.Ross, over time we started realizing that this can set us apart because we have access to high quality first pick organic food. It elevated us tremendously and then we actually developed a relationship with agriculture and learning how to grow food.
I went to Hawaii and came back to see the garden was just like messed up and I said I had to take it upon myself to not let this powerful resource go to waste. That started the process of learning how to be a director of a garden and what it entails. It wasn’t until then I decided to rewrite the structure, so me and my bro Luther decided to take it upon ourselves to pick up the mountain because it's a safe peaceful space where we can educate thousands of people and feed them as well.”
What kind of events do you have here?
“So we do a lot of workshops but our main events are our introduction to organic gardening classes called “Your Taste Buds Are Not Your God”. I have had cooking, juicing, and we also just taught a class about fibroids. We really want to use this space as a platform for all of the healers and educators to come together. We want to have a yoga class or a physical fitness class and it will be coming soon.”
As we’re daily becoming more aware of systemic oppression, what impact do you wish to have on the community to assist in moving towards changing the narrative?
We really want to use this space as a platform for health and wellness because I impact the community for that same thing in many ways. Like my main thing is teaching the youth what systemic oppression is and how to navigate through it and be self-aware. That's my foundation. We can do self assessment and then from self-assessment it’s about educating ourselves what we're doing to our belief systems really getting those lines, you know, because a lot of the time our belief systems and our day-to-day packages are not the same.
So from that self-awareness comes eating healthier, being more rooted and grounded, having a deeper connection with nature and learning what that entails in a full totality. And from that we can free ourselves because we already have everything you need to be free and I'm the physical manifestation of that. Like it's been imposed more so into our minds because what we give our focus and attention to. The Garden is like the last part of that the main thing is self-awareness. We need books in the community. I have a full library;I have a whole section of books just about systemic oppression. So it's kind of like we need it because we have to understand how this society works or how we got here. How are we able to keep getting shot in the street?
The street doesn't change. Why are we fighting against each other? Why are we in this situation? We have a food desert, but we have perfect weather conditions. How's that possible? You know, how can you put anything in the dirt in Compton and grow but yet we don't have access to organic food.”
The power of knowing yourself is essential for your mental health especially during these times of so much uncertainty in the world you can gain comfort within owning onto your own power. I walked away from this interview feeling rejuvenated and hopeful for the black community knowing that there are allies willing to dedicate their lives to the well being of their people. Temu also has published two cookbooks called “Dedication Catering Kids Plant Based” and “Dedication Catering Plant Based”. Alongside releasing a web series based off of his brand and online course called “Hood and Healthy” that is available on youtube.
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