Kafi Dixon is the founder of Seeds of Change, an organization that allows individuals to come together to purchase food items collectively from local farms and wholesale distributors. She is also featured in the documentary A Reckoning in Boston about the Boston Clemente Course.
I never went to high school. I was homeless; it was just too hard. When I was 16, I got pregnant and had my first daughter, and then when I was 19 I had my second daughter. Over the years I was ashamed because I didn’t have an education. I started several small businesses; a bedding shop, a farm stand, anything to get away without having to explain that I don’t have a GED. It was like this dirty little secret I was carrying around.
I really wanted to start a farm, but I needed a business plan to do that. I was paralyzed. I was unable to communicate my ideas for this business in writing. I’m more than capable of running a business, but I lacked confidence to write the plan, and I didn’t have networks of people I could turn to that had skills in writing, research or business planning.
That’s when I found Clemente. Clemente took my natural abilities and shined them so that others could see them. The professors and my fellow students also pushed me to recognize my own strengths.
Before Clemente, a simple question like “tell us about yourself” was enough to discourage me from completing an application or a business plan. I had gotten off of welfare; I had raised children who went to college. But I was ashamed of my story because I didn’t have an education.. Through Clemente I gained the skills I needed to write that business plan, and I was able to start The Women of Color Cooperative Farm in Boston. More importantly, I gained the confidence to interact with people across class and cultural lines.