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: Blog Post

Why African People Should Raise our own Food

From large scale farms to backyard gardens, it is important for Black people to grow and produce our own food.  Black people have a strong history of food production. Before colonialism and slavery, African people were growing, raising, hunting, and fishing for our own food in a sustainable way.  We were people who produced life for ourselves.  

Although this type of development was interrupted over 600 years ago, in AAPDEP we recognize how necessary it is for us to struggle to achieve this in our communities again. Healthy food is essential for life and now more than ever African (Black) people have to be involved in a process of taking back control over our lives. The production and consumption  of food is an essential part of any people being self-sufficient and self-determining. 

 In the first half of 2020 alone, we’ve seen the global negative impacts of not producing food in our communities. In Kenya, inflation and shortage of produce in working class communities exposed the importance of Africans growing food to feed our own people. The Covid-19 repercussions in South Africa increased Africans’ risk of coming in contact with the virus when buying necessities such as vegetables and fruits. In the US, we watched shelves become barren in supermarkets all over the country. If they say there is no food, does that mean we should be forced to starve? Of course not. We must take matters into our own hands and develop our own strategies to feed the community.

Taking the step to produce our own food will have many benefits for our health and our economy.  We will know where our food comes from and what goes into producing it. We won’t be as dependent on our colonizers to provide something so essential to us and our families. Growing our own food independent of our oppressor gives us the ability to win the Black community to be self determining. African People can start to use our resources and labor to benefit our people and not our oppressor. This might seem like a large task at the beginning, but almost anyone can start small and grow something.  It is as easy as growing food on your window sill, or on your porch.  There are even ways to raise fish in your basement! There are many different skills and techniques  for raising food in almost any circumstances.

The biggest resource that we have is each other and the knowledge that we share.  As a people, we are lacking organization; the organization to share our knowledge with each other. AAPDEP provides an organizational vehicle for us to collectivize our skills to improve our communities quality of life. It is the mechanism for sharing our resources and building collectively to provide for ourselves.  The current pandemic, and the recent attacks on African people that have left us dependent are just a few examples of why this is the necessary time for us to start to produce our own food.

We are calling on Africans, no matter where you are located, to #GrowTheRevolution by joining AAPDEP’s Agriculture Committee or take advantage of the resources provided for your community to start growing food today! You can learn more at DevelopmentForAfrica.org. There, you will find more articles that will address African people controlling our food. We even have DIY articles on different gardening techniques, food storage and preparation.  We also have videos on the same subjects. You can also contact us at info@developmentforafrica.org to be put into contact with one of our agriculture committee representatives.

Uhuru! Join the fight for independence! Join AAPDEP today!


How to Make Your Own Cloth Face masks in 3 Different Sizes!

2013 study by the Disaster Medicine and Public Health Department entitled Testing the Efficacy of Homemade Masks: Would They Protect in an Influenza Pandemic? revealed that homemade face masks, constructed out of household materials were still effective in reducing aerosol transmission of droplet-spread communicable diseases. The study involved 21 healthy volunteers; 12 men and 9 women aged between 20 and 44 years of age. The results indicated that all of the materials used, which included a cotton t-shirt, scarf, tea-towel, vacuum cleaner bag and pillowcase showed some capability to block the microbial aerosol challenges. The most significant factor was not the material the homemade face mask was constructed out of, instead, it was the fit of the mask itself and the underlying actions of the wearer.

Masks are not recommended for children 2 and under!

Free Downloadable Face Mask Pattern (from craft passion) in various options. Please click to download and print separately.

  • Type A: Normal face mask ( No POCKET)
  • Type B: Face mask with a POCKET for filter insert or as a surgical mask cover.
  • Type C: Add on a removable NOSE WIRE to Type A and Type B

This article is intended for both those with have little to no skills with sewing as well as our more experienced readers. It is also readily made to to complete with or without the use of a sewing machine.


Woman/Teen Man
“Jesse Mask (Best Fit)Template
W/Pocket (3/8″ seam allowance)TemplateTemplateTemplateTemplate
W/out Pocket (1/4″ seam allowance)TemplateTemplateTemplateTemplate
W/out seam allowance
(4 sizes)
Make sure printer is set to Print to Scale



  • Main Fabric (cotton), 13″ x 7″, prewash
  • Lining Fabric (cotton or flannel), 12″ x 7″, prewash
  • Bias Tape, 2″ wide 6″ long (5″ for young kids, 4″ for small kids), prewash. (Optional, as nose wire sleeve)
  • Wire, 6″ (5″ for young kids, 4″ for small kids). (Optional, as nose wire), bent the ends inward so the won’t poke through the fabric.
  • Elastic cord: for ear loops, 8″ x 2, or, for head tie, 18″ x 1, (this is an approximate length, please measure with your own elastic band to judge; as everyone’s head and sizes are different) or, shoelace/ribbon/cord/t-shirt yarn with at least 44″ length for the head tie
  • Sewing Pattern


  • Sewing essential
  • Sewing Machine or hand sew
  • Iron
  • Seamstress tracing wheel and paper
  • Pencil or soluble fabric marker


  1. Decide which type and size you want to sew, choose the correct pattern from the list, download and print out the template of the face masks separately. (https://media.rainpos.com/220/jessemask.pdf)
  2. Base on the choice of face mask you want to sew, follow the sewing instructions accordingly. Watch the sewing video attach within the instruction for Type C face mask, or as reference for other types.
  3. Add ties to the face mask, either an elastic band or head tie.
  4. Wash the face mask with warm water of at least 60 °C or 140 °F, dry it properly before wearing. Add filter insert if required.

Decide which type and size you want to sew, choose the correct pattern from the list, download and print out the template of Face Mask Pattern separately.

Don’t scale the printing and DON’T print to fit the paper either, it is in letter size paper (8.5″ x 11″) so you should have no problem printing it in 100% size. There is a 2″ scale marking for you to check if you are printing it in the right size.

Cut out the pattern of your size.

[IMPORTANT: Don’t print the pattern from the browser, the size might not correct. Please open the pdf pattern in Adobe Reader or Adobe Pro and print the actual size (100% scale) from there, DO NOT set to “print to fit paper”.]

[Without Printer]

You may trace the pattern out from your monitor. Download the templates and open them in Adobe Reader. Zoom the template till the 2″ guide measures 2″ on your ruler, set the screen to the highest brightness. Place a piece of white paper on the monitor and trace the outline with a pen or a marker.

Fold the main fabric into halve with the wrong side facing each other, pin the paper pattern onto the double-layered fabric. Cut the fabric with 1/4″ allowance, except the ear side. Cut the fabric at the ear side with 1″ seam allowance (1.5″ if you are using t-shirt yarn as the head tie).

Insert the tracing paper between the layer, trace sewing lines with tracing wheel.

Remove pins and paper pattern, get set to sew.

NOTE: If you are using templates that already have seam allowances included, you do not need to add any more seam allowance. The same applies to the lining in the next step.

Fabric Patch Video Instructions (with sewing machine)

(Tutorial starts at about 12:00)

Additional Tips for “Jesse mask”

Video 2

  • 2:29 – Elastic
  • 4:22 – Ties
  • 11:01 – Nose Pieces
  • 17:32 – Center seam questions
  • 19:45 – Template Info & Alternative Templates
  • 21:40 – How to take Measurements
  • 23:49 – Washability
  • 25:35 -Materials

Video 3

Option B Instructions (can use with one of the mask templates above)


5 Vegetables That Are Easy To Grow For A Kid-Friendly Garden

Some Tips Before You Get Started:

  • Buy some garden tools designed for children that are smaller in size and most of the time offer additional safety.
  • Allow children to decorate and personalize their pots!
  • When sowing seeds or transplanting your starter plants, space them out with a little extra room in between. This will help to prevent plants from being trampled on by your children)!

Tips for Grocery Shopping and Handling During a Pandemic

With the ever increasing requirement for ‘social distancing’, there are essentials such as food, cleaning supplies, personal care and medicine, to name a few.  We know that to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, we should limit our exposure to people, cover our coughs/sneezes, and avoid touching our face.  If you are feeling well and certain that you have not been exposed to or tested negative for the COVID-19 virus.  Here are some strategies to consider before you leave home, while shopping, and when you return home.

Before You Leave Home

  1. Determine your budget, how many in your household, and duration or how long you need your groceries, supplies, etc.  
  1. Make a very specific list of your groceries, supplies, etc. 
  • Some high demand items might not yet be available, out of stock or sold out. 
  • Make a column for possible substitutions. 
  • Minimize exposure to others, set a time limit in the store.
  1. Stay within budget and stick to the List.
  • Helpful to have an online or mental map of product locations.
  • Know and go at times when fewer people shop at your store.
  1. Only one person from household should go to the store.
  • Minimize numbers within store and practice Social Distancing.
  • Lower exposure risks to other family members.
  • Vulnerable individuals may have assistance from one person if needed.
  1. Prepare a “Disinfection area” and “Clean area” for when you get back home.
  • See “When you return Home” for set-up ideas.
  • Designate who will help with unloading
  1. Take your mask and hand sanitizer. Extra sanitizing wipes and gloves are optional.

While Shopping 

  1. Wear a mask. Cloth face masks now strongly recommended by the CDC.  
  • A clean bandana folded around 2-3 layers of paper towels.
  • Use a tightly woven cloth that doesn’t allow light to pass through.
  1. Gloves are optional because they become contaminated the same way your hands do.        
  1. Sanitize your hands often, especially before and after shopping.
  1. Most stores are wiping down and sanitizing carts and common ‘high’ touch” areas.
  • Your extra wipes will be best if your store isn’t providing sanitizing nor wipes.
  • Wipes are like used tissues, use once and toss.
  1. Don’t touch your face.
  1. Touch only what you buy.
  • Try not to touch things unnecessarily.  That means don’t pick up multiple produce items to try to find the ripest one.
  • If you must, put your hands in a produce bag.
  1. Practice Social Distancing, some stores mark it with tapes.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (1.8 meters).
  • Weird trick at check-out, ‘accidentally’ drop a dried-out sanitizing wipe, clean crumbled tissue or napkin behind you.  People will give you space.
  • Not sure or no tiles at store? Bring your own tape measure, be selfish or stingy and don’t let anyone borrow it or pick up one in the hardware section to “try out” in store.  
  1. Checkout:
  • Self- Checkout before you start, ask attendant to sanitize conveyor belt or tray, touch screen, scanner and handheld, card reader. Or use your wipes. 
  1. Sanitize your hands/gloves or remove gloves before reaching for purse/wallet.
  1. Using cash?
  • Carry it in an envelope or zip-lock sandwich bag.
  • Use sanitizer or wipes AFTER handling the cash. 
  1. Using Card?
  • Sanitize hands and card After using card reader.
  • Still cover keypad when entering PIN 
  1. Before getting in the car, sanitize your hands.  Remove and discard gloves.
  • Throw away gloves when you reach home, if you are on foot or take public transportation.

When you return home

  1. Continue to wear face mask and practice social distancing as much as possible.
  • Have family member(s) wear mask(s) and sanitize hands if assisting with unloading.
  1. Sanitize hands: you and any family member that is helping you with unloading vehicle or carrying in packages. 
  1. Place bags in pre-designated “disinfection area” or holding area for cleaning/disinfecting.
  • Do not leave the groceries outside your door, on porch, in garage for days. Store properly to avoid spoilage and pests.
  • Clean reusable bags: Wash cloth ones in laundry. Sanitize plastic ones with soap or disinfectants.
  1. Rinse produce Don’t use soap.
    • Use lukewarm or cold water.
    • Rinsing, ‘spray and sit” or soaking produce for 2 to 10 minutes is sufficient.
    • Buy or make homemade produce wash to remove pesticides, dirt, bacteria, etc.
  1. Use paper towel and disinfecting spray on non-porous packages such as cereal boxes, plastic bags/pouches, zip locked packages.
  • Spray all sides, let sit 20-30 seconds,
  • Wipe with paper towel.
  1. If available, transfer staples or frequently opened foods into clean dry canisters or sealed plastic storage containers.
  • Empty sliced bread from bag into large enough bowl or bread dispenser.
  • Use canister for dried items like Oatmeal, flour, coffee, cookies, etc.
  • Look around and set these up or order before your next shopping trip.

Home-care Guide of Do’s and Don’ts for COVID-19 Infections

A Layperson’s Guide in Plain Talk

  • This is a compilation based on information from World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and other sources in an easy-to-read format with the survival of African and all people in mind.
  • Many of the recommendations are based on what worked during the MERS and SARS pandemics, but others have been specially adapted to the challenges faced with the novel or new coronavirus COVID- 19.
  • Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and should recover at home.
  • Care at home either from a family member(s), friend or home health care-worker can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk for getting seriously ill from COVID-19.


  1. Make sure you understand and follow instructions given to the person in your care by a healthcare professional: doctor/nurse/nurse practitioner/medical assistant.
  2. Monitor Symptoms. Know what could be COVID-19 or something else:

Know Your Symptoms:

SymptomCOVID-19InfluenzaColdSeasonal Allergies
CoughCommon (Dry)Common (Dry)CommonCommon
FatigueCommonCommonSome CasesUncommon / None
FeverCommonCommonSome CasesUncommon / None
Shortness of BreathCommonUncommon / NoneUncommon / NoneUncommon / None
Aches and PainsSome CasesCommonSome CasesUncommon / None
DiarrheaSome CasesSome CasesUncommon / NoneUncommon / None
Sore ThroatSome CasesCommonCommonUncommon / None
Stuffy or Runny NoseSome CasesCommonCommonCommon
HeadacheUncommon / NoneCommonSome CasesUncommon / None
Itchy or Watery EyesUncommon / NoneUncommon / NoneCommonCommon
SneezingUncommon / NoneCommonCommonCommon
Stomach PainUncommon / NoneSome CasesUncommon / NoneUncommon / None
VomitingUncommon / NoneSome CasesUncommon / NoneUncommon / None
  • Keep all other household members as separate as possible.
  • That means in whatever space you have available do the very best you can to avoid being too close the patient.   Separate bathroom, etc. if possible.
  • NO VISITORS -unless absolutely needed!
  • Others in home care for pets.
  • Make sure shared spaces have good ventilation:  open window or air conditioner (weather permitting).  
  • Wash hands often!!
  • World Health Organization recommends: 
  • Perform hand washing after any type of contact with patients or their immediate environment.
  • Hand hygiene should be performed before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet, and whenever hands look dirty. If hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand rub can be used. For visibly dirty hands, use soap and water. 
  • Use disposable paper towels to dry hands. If these are not available, use clean cloth towels and replace them frequently.
  • Patient should always wear a face mask when around others
  • Clean All Highly Touched Surfaces Often. Including: toilets, countertops, keyboards, phones, table tops, doorknobs, bedroom furniture, countertops
    • Wear gloves
    • Use cleaning spray or wipes
    • Open a window if possible- ventilate
  1. Always wear disposable face-masks & gloves when touching any of the patient’s body fluids: blood, urine, snot, saliva, etc. MAKE SURE TO DISPOSE OF THEM IMMEDIATELY AFTER USE- IN A LINED CONTAINER.  DO NOT REUSE the lining.
    1. Remove gloves first and throw away
    2. Wash hands thoroughly
    3. Next dispose of mask
    4. Clean hands again
  1. Don’t Share Household Items with the Patient
    • If Possible: provide patient with disposable cups, plates, forks & spoons
    • IF NOT Possible: wash all utensils thoroughly in hot soapy water, SEPARATELY from all other household members
  1. Laundry and Sanitation
    1. Always Wear Disposable Gloves
    2. Remove & wash clothes or bedding with blood, stool or other fluids on them
    3. KEEP SOILED ITEMS AWAY FROM YOUR BODY with the gloves still on
    4. Load & Wash on the hottest setting clothes can take
    5. Regular detergent is OK

Additional Links

Fever Reducers

Caution About Ibuprofen and Other Over The Counter Meds With Covid-19

  • No solid evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus symptoms and/or outcomes worse but there are conflicting views on use.
  • Some infectious disease experts say use Tylenol as a first-line agent
  • Ibuprofen and other NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be considered if there are no other conditions such as kidney disease  or stomach ulcers.
  • Not recommended in infants younger than 6 months.
  • The more cautious approach would be to stick with acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever in COVID-19 infection
  • These suggestions may change with the pandemic’s evolution and as more information becomes available about drug interactions and COVID-19.


If you or the person you’re caring for develops these emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

How to tell when someone is no longer infectious

  1. Incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days
  2. People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (are home isolated) can stop home isolation when:

If NoTest to determine if they are still contagious, they can leave home after these three things have happened:

  • no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
  • other symptoms have improved (for example, when their cough or shortness of breath have improved)
  • AND
  • at least 7 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared 

If Tested to determine if still contagious, they can leave home after these three things have happened:

  • They no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
  • AND
  • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when their cough or shortness of breath have improved)
  • AND
  • They received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart.

Ignore Rumors, Urban Myths, Conspiracy Theories and Avoid People Who Spread Them


A vaccine to cure COVID-19 is available. False

There is no vaccine for the new coronavirus right now. Scientists have already beings will take many months.

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by swallowing or gargling with bleach, taking acetic acid or steroids, or using essential oils, salt water, ethanol or other substances. False

None of these recommendations protects you from getting COVID-19, and some of these practices may be dangerous. The best ways to protect yourself from this coronavirus (and other viruses) include: Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, using soap and hot water.  Avoid close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing.  In addition, you can avoid spreading your own germs by coughing into the crook of your elbow and staying home when you are sick.

The new coronavirus was deliberately created or released by people. False

Viruses can change over time. Occasionally, a disease outbreak happens when a virus that is common in an animal such as a pig, bat or bird undergoes changes and passes to humans. This is likely how the new coronavirus came to be.

Ordering or buying products shipped from overseas will make a person sick. False

As of now the World Health Organization (WHO) says that the likelihood of becoming infected with COVID-19 from a commercial package is low since it has likely traveled over some time

Coronavirus is not in my area, so I can go out. False

You don’t know it’s not in your area. There’s been a shortage of testing in the United States, so we don’t have an accurate idea of how many people – or what areas – have truly been affected.  It may take as long as two weeks before symptoms show.

This blog post originally appeared on WebMD.com.

How to Respond to COVID-19 Deniers – Medscape – Mar 20, 2020.

Stress and Children

Children mirror behaviors they observe from adults. This is especially true of our responses to stressful situation like those caused by COVID-19. 

Common Signs of Distress in the Young

  • Excessive crying or irritation
  • Bedwetting, toileting accidents
  • Unhealthy eating 
  • Irregular sleeping patterns
  • Acting out or irritability in teens
  • Unexplained headache or body pains
  • Alcohol, tobacco or drug use


  • Speak calmly to them during this crisis
  • Provide truthful, straightforward information
  • Answer questions to the best of your ability
  • Reassure your children that you are prepared and can protect them as best you can 


Stress, Anxiety & Depression

Feeling overwhelmed

Sad or Depressed?

Thinking of harming yourself or others?

Reach Out to Someone: Call a Friend or Family Member

Or Call Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

1 (800) 827-8255 (TALK)

Text: TalkWithUs to


National Hotline: 1-800-662-4357 (HELP)

TTY: 1 800-487-4889

Contact the National Domestic Violence 


and TTY 1-800-787-3224

Signs & Symptoms of Stress & Anxiety

  • fear and anxiety about your health and the health of loved ones
  • changes in sleep
  • can’t concentrate
  • chronic health problems get worse
  • pre-existing mental health issues get worse


Take Breaks

  • from the news about the pandemic
  • from social media
  • from anything that adds to existing stress

Eat Well

Try to Exercise

Limit Alcohol