Gang Member Becomes Organic Farmer: From Gangs to Gardens Documentary

| 04/25/2015 | 4 Replies

Filmmaker JLove Calderon recently released an exciting new documentary entitled ‘From Gangs To Gardens’ which chronicles Ietef Vita’s progression from gang member to organic urban gardener, heading up the Eastside Growers Collective.

“I am more than what you see” ~Ietef Vita

Vita is a hip hop yogi, educator, midwife, emcee, deejay, youth advocate, and seeker of self sustainable life. He started the garden project to heal his neighborhood. “In order for us to see environmental improvement we must begin with the health of ourselves and individuals.”

An oasis in a food desert in Northeast Denver, CO, this project focuses on healthy, organic food. Each plant in the garden is purposeful, putting into themes that are specific to the health disparities found in this community being one of low-income and people of color.

Cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and respiratory challenges are rampant in the Northeast Denver neighborhood. This project was designed to focus on collaboration, utilizing the resources of existing organizations, businesses and individuals.

Vita uses music and the hip hop culture when he speaks, with the goal of motivating young people to participate in the food activist movement, while educating them on the importance of healthy eating, and growing your own food to ensure food security.

In the film, Vita (invited, along with wife Alkemia [pictured below], to the White House to rep for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign) quips: “Tribalism is ingrained in us. We’re supposed to rep our hoods, our community. But when it becomes violent, when it becomes destructive, that’s why I realized that enough of this has happened.”

DENVER, CO - JULY 3: Ietef Vita, aka, DJ Cavem Moetavation, right, gets rid of weeds as his wife Neambe Leadon Vita, in back at right, and her daughter Selasia, 3, in blue and Libya, 21 months, in green on left, plant seeds in the couple's gardens at 33rd and Elm street in Denver, CO. on July 3, 2013. The couple try to grow as much food as possible as part of their vegan and healthy diet. As part of our "Summer of Love" series for the Style section we profile the relationship of DJ Cavem Moetavation (a.k.a. Ietef Vita) and his wife Neambe Vita. They are proud and longtime Five Points residents. They're artists, community activists, musicians, teachers and more. They espouse the idea of being vegan or vegetarian and promote eating healthfully and organically. Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

ietef vita and children

Letef Vita - Gangs to Gardens documentary

Watch the trailer below, check out Ietef’s lyrics, then click HERE to see the film (co-produced by M1 from dead prez), in its entirety.

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Category: Veganism and African Americans

Comments (4)

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  1. EcoBro says:

    I love to see new Vegelantes growing food with a new purpose, especially in Urban Communities.Kale Yeh!

  2. Michelle Marie Carter says:

    Outstanding!!! Great for my 8 year old to see.

  3. Audra says:

    I would love to see the full documentary, but the link to it does not work. Where can I get access to it? I would really like to watch it.

  4. DebBTheLioness says:

    Nice reminder.

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