Kenn(edy) Wears The Monterey Classic
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I'm passionate about helping people learn to grow their own food and reconnect with the earth as a pathway to liberation. Any kind of worthwhile future requires drastic changes from an individual to an institutional level, as the events of the past year have reminded us. Growing your food as close to home as possible is one way we can reclaim our agency and invest in the health of people and planet.
Q: How did you get started in the world of gardening?
A: I started gardening in my grandmother's neglected backyard as a way to reconnect with source. My grandmother is almost as old as the 100-year-old avocado tree in her backyard and since the passing of my grandfather, who was the main caretaker of the garden, she hadn't had the energy to maintain it. She often told me stories of her growing up in the south on her family's small farm and how nothing store-bought could compare with fresh, homegrown food. I decided to pick up where my grandfather left off. I started by clearing out little patches of space at a time, revived the soil, and planted a few seedlings. It wasn't an instant success, but with each season I learn something new and grew alongside the plants in her garden.
Q: Have you faced adversity in your life or career? What have you learned from that?
A: Growing up in a city where "development" often means displacement, to find or create space has proven to be a lifelong challenge. Especially as a Black person, I also recognize this feeling of rootlessness is likely carried over from many generations before me and an experience shared across the diaspora. Despite any hardship, I know there is a purpose for my time in Los Angeles. These experiences instilled in me the values of community, advocacy, and an unrelenting desire for freedom that I carry with me.
Q: What are some things that you are grateful for?
A: I'm grateful for the communities of Black, queer, trans, and neurodivergent folks who make me feel seen. I'm grateful for elders on both sides of the river who encourage me to make a way. I'm especially grateful to know that whenever I need to be held, the earth will always receive me.
Q: One of our brand mottos is “Keep it Casual”. What does “Keep it Casual” mean to you in your own life?
A: To me "keep it casual" means presenting as my authentic self without stressing how others may perceive me. On an ideal day, I'm probably climbing trees and getting dirty, but I still like to express myself by wearing vibrant colors and patterns. Wearing something that feels comfortable and uniquely my own is always affirming and enables me to have a greater presence wherever the day takes me.
Q: How do you stay inspired?
A: I stay inspired by inviting change into my life, rather than resisting. Recently I moved across the country to Georgia, hoping to do some major healing and make the transition from gardener to farmer. I felt like my life in LA had become stagnant and uninspired, even though a lot of my long-term goals center my attachments there. It's really exciting to be in a new environment. Figuring things out and surrendering the outcome is a part of the fun!
Q: Socks or no socks?
A: Definitely socks with any type of sneaker. Typically a sock that extends up to my calf, but I can appreciate a no-show sock moment too. Wear what feels good, but if your feet stink that's on you fam.
Q: Do you have any plans or projects that you are looking forward to in the future?
A: I'll be teaching urban horticulture in an online platform designed for free thinkers, which should launch this spring. I've been pretty off-grid while experimenting with new forms of living art and clothing design and I'm in a new climate so I'll be building on my CA gardening knowledge in an entirely different playing field. I've also been documenting these past months of transition from LA to ATL and I'm preparing to return to youtube (@Kennyoubelieve) with greater clarity as to why I feel these things are important to share. So many exciting changes underway!
Q: What’s one piece of advice, encouragement, or challenge you’d love to leave our readers with?
A: What you water grows. Keep at it and be patient with yourself, especially when you're trying to achieve something you've never seen done before. Your skills and resources will catch up to your vision and the vision will only get clearer with time and experience.
Q: Where can our readers find / follow you, and what would be the best way to support you?