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From a gang to gardening: Using recipes and rhymes to change community

Posted at 4:07 PM, Sep 26, 2017

Ietef Vita is preparing lasagna with noodles made with zucchini. And cheese made with cashews. This vegan chef is working to create more than a healthy meal, but a healthy community. Vita wants people to eat more raw fruits and vegetables grown where they live. An opportunity he didn't always have.

"I grew up eating at Ben's Supermarket, drinking regular old sugar water you know what I mean?" Vita says. "And lots of potato chips. That was the stuff that I was used to because that was what was available."  

That's not the only thing that was different. Vita was in a gang. But just before high school, decided to take his life in a different direction.  

"Around age 14, I went plant-based, started studying vegan and vegetarian recipes," Vita says. "So I started growing food. I started getting involved with organic gardeners and learning with the elders. That's what makes me an OG; organic gardener."  

That's not the only thing. Vita is also a hip hop artist, who goes by the name of DJ Cavem. Despite having six albums, a juicer endorsement, appearing on a national talk show and visiting the Obama White House, his focus is on helping people learn how to live healthier lives through his organization, Going Green Living Bling. And vegan cooking classes.  

"I thought it was just going to be bad because I didn't like, I don't really like vegetables that much," says Ajhani Duval who attended the class. "But I was like wow, this is pretty good."

Using recipes and rhymes to feed a community more than food.