Ray Warthen is the founder of Infinite Zion Farms, the official garden partner of Nourish Coffee Bar + Kitchen.
I have three children — two boys and one girl. What I love about being their father is being their hero and role model. Watching them grow year by year and month by month is truly rewarding. Seeing their overall development, growth and happiness truly inspires me. Seeing them light up and excited to see me when I get home is truly a blessing.
It is a balance, especially for black fathers. Unfortunately, we deal with so much more than just family life, which is another reason why statistically black men and fathers die at a young age. Stress can really get a hold of our mental state. Work life can be challenging, battling unfortunate stigmas black fathers are often exposed to that are not commonly true weighs a lot on us. I work a full-time job — eight to 14 hours a day — and run Infinite Zion Farms, a farming and gardening non-profit, which is another seven to eight hours after I get off work.
I watched my parents not have the time to take care of themselves because of wanting to show and give us a better quality of life. Learning from their experiences and living through it—which I am grateful for—helped me understand the impact immediately to my own family in developing a quality time schedule. It is not easy, by any means, and requires having a supportive wife and family to be there during the times I must go work on the farm. I meditate throughout the day and set reminders to take care of myself and family. I have mastered using a calendar organizer.
As a busy working father, it is easy to eat bad because bad, fast food is easy to [access]. I struggled with this until I started running short of energy. I was in a grumpy mood, always tired, woke up stressed, always had headaches, and was just irritated. I realized when I stopped eating heavy dairy-based foods, salts, sugars and fats, my body and mind begin to change. I started eating right from the garden, started eating the grapes, kale, mint, sage, cabbage, greens and more. I started stretching while working in the gardens, meditating, and manifesting laws of attraction. My body needed green clean energy. I stopped eating a lot of dairy based foods and heavy starches and started drinking Alkaline Water. That changed my life!