Man Uses Stimulus Check to Start Community Farm, Teach Others How to Get Off Gov’t Assistance

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by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:

Over the course of the pandemic, millions of Americans received two measly checks as part of the government’s “stimulus” package. The amounts were laughable and amounted to just a few dollars a day and could barely pay for anything. One man in Florida, however, decided to do something with his check that is now serving as a lesson in sustainability and independence. He started a home garden and is helping to free his neighborhood by teaching them food freedom.

Instead of blowing his stimulus on useless consumer items, Tampa, Florida, native Michael “Spirit Mike” Chaney used it to start a revolution. Chaney said that after watching people fight over toilet paper, bleach, and food at the grocery stores during the pandemic, he knew he had to do something.

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“If the stores don’t have food, what am I going to do? I don’t know how to hunt. At that time I didn’t know how to fish,” he said. “I didn’t know anybody that grew anything or had the knowledge to grow anything.”

So, he decided to learn for himself, and apply that knowledge to a .3 acre plot of land he lives on. Chaney used his first stimulus check to buy the infrastructure for his farm and a few plants and it has grown from there. He is now showing his neighbors how to use their government subsistence, and even food stamps, to become independent.

“If you use that government assistance all you need is a plot of land; use that assistance and buy 4/5 plants a month and at the end of the year you don’t even need the assistance anymore. You have an orchard.”  Chaney said.

Chaney explained when his garden matures, it will give him all the nutrients he needs to survive as well as help others.

“Because I’m in my infancy mode, the few products that come out, I just give them away to the people so they will get a feel for the quality of plants.”

Since Chaney rents his property, all of his plants are in pots in case he has to move. However, that hasn’t stopped him from building a chicken coup with 9 chickens.

“Essentially for less than the money you got for the stimulus you can have a [chicken] pen, 10-15 chickens, eggs and meat. You have generational food by a little investment, time and effort,” said Chaney.

Cheney says he composts all of his food waste and hopes this will make his food cost zero.

“My aim is to make my food cost zero. So, my food scraps go into the soldier fly larvae bin, they eat that and produce more larvae. Those larvae get fed to the chickens. The chicken produces eggs, I sell the eggs and eat the eggs; life is good,” he told Atlanta Black Star.

Now that Chaney has figured out how to feed himself, he is going further than just giving away his excess to his neighbors. He has launched an entire campaign to “provide an independent, black owned, total organic and local urban neighborhood food farm.”

He is going to launch an advertising campaign to teach others how to use their food stamps to buy fruit and vegetable plants so that they can eventually free themselves from the dependence on government assistance.

As WMNF reports, Chaney said he hopes to have the biggest impact on the neighborhood’s children. A felon since the age of 16, Chaney, now 42, spent almost 12 years in prison. But he hasn’t let that slow down his positivity or hope. He’s been out nearly a decade and good behavior got him off probation early. Even if he reaches his goal of getting himself a few acres in East Hillsborough, he said he’s keeping that first garden on 23rd Avenue right by the train tracks.

Keeping kids healthy and off the streets is the big goal.

“If all of your successful people move out of a community and all you have is the dredges, what do the kids have to look up to?” he said. “So I’m staying. I’m gonna get that land but I’m still gonna stay because the kids need a positive role model to look at. They need a place.”

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