Anna Gilbert-Muhammad

Anna Gilbert-Muhammad is the Food Access Coordinator of NOFA/Mass and lives in Springfield. She was born in New York City but, being the child of a Marine Corps father, lived in various places in California as well as Baltimore. While in California, although she was raised as a Roman Catholic, Anna became interested in the Nation of Islam and ultimately converted.  She says, “I enjoyed the whole idea that prayer is a conversation between you and God. There are no intermediaries. You know the Catholics have saints, priests, a whole bunch of people between you and God. I went along with it but it was very confusing for me. In Islam there is a direct communication between you and God. You don’t need anybody else, which I appreciated. . . . I also appreciated the community work,” she continues, “that the Nation of Islam does, in the restoration of people of color. It is some of the hardest work, but it gives me a sense of purpose.”

Anna began to garden and discovered NOFA. Anna is responsible for the alliances of NOFA/Mass with groups working on food access issues. This includes a large number of indigenous urban farming organizations like GtC: community gardens and youth training programs as well as food policy and food sovereignty efforts.  “I’ve been working with the Urban Farm Institute in Mattapan,” she explains, “teaching people how to raise food. It’s in the inner city of Boston. They’re trying to build healthy soil so that they can grow more nutritious food. NOFA is helping with our soil technical assistance program. We’ll work with you, train you up, and when we go away you can continue on your way. That is the best kind of relationship groups like NOFA can have. “  (This bio adapted from The Natural Farmer, published by NOFA Mass.)