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Griot Calling



Familiar face to Brooklyn community activists, Westchester-born nutritionist Baabasurya, is at home in Atlanta, Ga. (seen here with friends at the recent Malcolm X Festival) as he is in Tuskegee, Ala., where he now resides.

The late patriarchal principal of Boys & Girls H.S., Frank C. Mickens, was the subject of Our Time Press first Father’s Day cover story in June, 1996.  The issue resonated with readers of all ages, particularly those who were Mickens’ cheerleaders. For community activist, Baabasurya the feature story on this writer’s father Daniel C. Green, a World War II vet, attracted immediate attention.

As a boy growing up in Westchester, Baaba knew and heard of Danny way before I was a thought.  Baaba eventually contacted us, and confirmed information I knew about my father, and added unknown facts to the existing history.

Thankfully, from Baaba and scholars like Professor William Mackey and Dr. John Henrik Clarke, we learned early in the life of Our Time Press that that including the human experience element to our form of news telling was essential.  

As a footnote to the above, one day, Baaba showed up at our former Lafayette Avenue office announcing he would distribute our paper in his native Westchester County.  For about a year, rain or shine, on Thursdays or Fridays weekly, he sojourned by subway, with shopping cart from The Bronx to Bedford-Stuyvesant to make special deliveries for us.  In recent years, we meet up with Surya on-line. He assesses his many years being in good health and shares his thoughts on what the community’s priority should be. 
(Bernice Elizabeth Green)

Baabasurya, 88: Organic is the Way to Live

as told to Bernice Elizabeth Green
From Scarsdale, NY’s Saxon Woods Road area to Tuskegee, Ala., thanks to my grandparents, I grew up “country”.  On country food, that is.


I attribute my health now at 88 and in those younger years to my experiences growing up with family in Black communities where Nature and its bounty were understood and valued.  Looking back, I see my family’s lifestyle was an active political statement.

 I have been a strict vegetarian for more than 30 years. We are what we eat, and I feel we need to help our people move toward that knowledge.  Good health and nutrition is a daily thing. 
Unfortunately, taste has captured the five senses, and we are eating our way towards sickness. 
Sugar, salt is leading the way to most diseases of the body. 
We must read and study the labels.  
My motto is:  Organic is the way to go, less medical bills later. 
 Yes, hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, assisted-living places are needed.  In fact, they are essential, but would you want to depend on them?

Home is the most essential place — where family is.  The greatest LIVING room is NOT the living room, as we know it; it’s the Kitchen. I call it the Healing Center.  It is where we can build up our IMMUNE center daily, at home: green leaf veggies, fresh fruit, all available at the farmer’s market or at some grocers. 

We should be moving away from dependency-food like Dairy products. Even eggs can have bad bacteria.  We can start by drinking more water, especially alkaline water. Many books are available to lead us toward better health and more knowledge about eating natural food.

Even the fast-food industry is trying to catch up. You can find Impossible and bean burgers, and avocado and hummus on their menus.
Much of this education on nutrition and food should be taught and practiced at home and in the public schools.  

My grandparents and great-grandparents were not taught about nutrition in college. 
We all have family who came from the country when country was country.  Maybe moving to the country is an answer.
But this is 2022, and I realize that as the song goes, “everything must change.”   
What should change is companies like Monsanto and Bayer.  Hard for me to imagine that companies can create seedless grapes. They are creating food that contains NO nutrition. Corn syrup is in everything. Canola is called healthy. It’s a no-no. So are packaged bleached, white flour products.


 It›s been three years since I moved to Tuskegee.  I was a strict vegetarian before then. For decades.
What will not change for me is my parents and grandparents understanding and knowledge that the immune system can fight sickness.  
On my family’s property in Westchester, there were grapevines, and three different varieties of apple trees; and pear, plum and cherry trees all planted in 1905 by my father’s father on property he received from the Purdy family.  Rhubarb, currants, gooseberry bushes, strawberries and blueberries grew wild in the woods.

Yes, we raised chickens and pigs.  We got fresh fish from Tony’s Fish Truck every Friday.  
(Note to readers: The first story of Baabasurya’s boyhood years in Westchester County appeared in the (2008) edition of “Our Time At Home”.)

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