Open Collective
Open Collective
Gourd Harvest Update!
Published on October 5, 2022 by hannah mayree

Fall is an exciting time for us at the Black Banjo Reclamation Project! Just as the natural cycles of the earth, we slow down programming in this season in order to plan and organize for next year and beyond.

It’s also the HARVEST SEASON for the BBRP! We focus on folk traditions of the African diaspora, namely those pertaining to the banjo and other gourd instruments. As caretakers of the land, farmers, herbalists & plant whisperers, we recognize that the heart of our work is in the earth. This time of year really connects us to our earth-based practice of being in relationship to cultivating GOURDS! We started our gourd growing journey in the Spring of 2019 by planting the seeds from the gourds we made banjos with at our very first workshop we hosted. It was monumental and of course sentimental to put our love and intentions into the earth in this sacred way.

Each year since then we have been blessed by those seeds. The site of our Sacramento Banjo Build is also a plot of land where gourds have been growing throughout this time. Lisa Mitchell is an extraordinary teacher and grower in the Sacramento, Nisenan Homelands and it has been so amazing to keep seeing the gourds thrive in her space. Our work came full circle when we were able to host a community event in this exact location. We can't wait to collaborate more with Lisa and her family to support African heritage crops being grown for traditional practices.

As we move forward in creating cultural opportunities to engage with the banjo through music, spirit, craft and land, we are leaning into the beautiful collaborations that make our work possible.

Hannah, Traver & Red had the extreme privilege of being able to harvest the most abundant crop of gourds from Chan, a Laotian farmer in the northern CA delta. Chan’s farm use organic practices and these plants are deeply tied to pacific island and Asian diets and cultural practices. The Stawberry Stand is a great place to buy your produce so definitely stop by in Brentwood CA, or pick up a csa box of Richmond’s own @urbantilth, which also includes this wonderful produce. @black.banjo.reclamation is tied to food, land & cultural sovereignty and we are incredibly grateful for this collaboration with local farms and land based community organizations to bring musical enrichment in Black cultural spaces.

Our liberation as people, our humanity and our connection to spirit starts and ends with the land. As indigenous people who have been displaced time and time again, we respect all the parts of the earth where we reside. We are continuing to partner with arts, music and land-based organizations, families and individuals who want to support the BBRP. We love having access to gourds but more importantly we need our own land in which to house ourselves and cultivate with our plant relatives. This is a long term intention that names that it is necessary for us as Black, indigenous earth-workers and crafters to be connected to land in a sovereign way in order to fulfill our lives. Please reach out to us directly if you are in a position to help create more stability and permanency on land for the BBRP in CA, on Turtle Island and beyond. 

Thank you to everyone for your continued support and collaboration! Feeling grateful and gourd-rich and ready to let these gourds dry and become instruments in their futures! Asé 🌍🌎🌏