May 06, 2023 4 min read 3 Comments
*A Goodworks Geezer Jock we should applaud.
*He grows food and gives it away.
*He has a secret sauce.
*Beautiful pictures at the end
By Ray Glier
Kevin Biggers, who is from Los Angeles, was a football player at the University of Nebraska in the 1980s when the Cornhuskers were mighty. He grows flowers and vegetables now on a vast farm…but not a farm on the Midwest plains near his U…a farm in New Mexico.
How is that for life’s random touch?
Here's something not random. Here's something spectacular.
Kevin was a political operative in California. Now he is a food operative in New Mexico. He grows food to give away to the needy. In the last almost two years, Biggers has given 2,300 pounds to the local food bank in Corrales, New Mexico, which is next to the Rio Grande.
That Biggers, 60, is a Masters track & field sprinter is almost not worth mentioning in this epic. But this is Geezer Jock, after all, so here you go….
…in the USATF Masters Indoors in Louisville in March, Biggers ran the 60-meter dash in 8.36 seconds and finished seventh. No one was catching Allan Tissenbaum, the fastest old guy on the planet, who went 7.67 to win.
We will get back to Biggers and Masters track because he has a lesson for us, but first back to the goodworks stuff.
The farmer was in the ‘Ville in March for the USATF track meet and saw a line stretching around a corner of people waiting for food to be handed out. He has great dismay over these images and he is doing something about it.
“It is 17 million kids in the world who go to bed hungry and 49 million adults who go to bed hungry,” he said. “People are hungry all over the world. I want to do my part.”
So someone made a farmer out of Biggers, a football player (if you have never heard Paul Harvey’s epic So God Made A Farmer, here it is).
Biggers’ best gift was not football. He was a cornerback and safety for the ‘Huskers and spent five years bouncing in and out of the NFL and CFL. His gift was growing food.
“Downloaded from heaven,” he says of the gift.
It is actually partially downloaded from Pauline, his mother, who was one of 15, which included 10 girls raised in New Orleans. She knew the seed/dirt trade and she taught Kevin from the ground up, so to speak. When he was younger, Biggers helped his mother grow a garden in the back yard of the not-middle-class area of south central Los Angeles.
When he helped elect a governor in California and his wife, Katherine Adkins, was soaring as an attorney, they bought a house overlooking the Pacific Ocean and he promptly ripped out all the grass and put in boxes for growing veggies.
Biggers moved to New Mexico six years ago and really got down to it. His first crops he gave away at a local farmers market down in the rail yards when the hungry approached him with just nickels and dimes. That sort of irritated the local farmers who were there making a living, so Biggers stopped messing with their businesses. He started donating to the local food bank in a communal spirit that rocks the soul.
“I can grow anything,” he says proudly. Kevin won 19 ribbons at a state fair for his flowers and vegetables.
His money-making enterprise is in the flamboyant cut flowers, which can fetch $20 a stem.
Biggers’ body is still chiseled, though down from 195 pounds playing weight at Nebraska to its current 180, but he can work fields sun up to sun down in New Mexico. It is a big operation and he has to hire help some weeks.
He doesn’t pay some of his workers. That's right, this good works dude stiffs some of his best workers. These are the workers who till the soil, and churn the leaves, even tumbleweeds, into black loam. “I’ll put my soil against anybody’s soil on earth,” Kevin said.
It is because of a million underpaid workers on the Biggers’ payroll that his crops are lush.
“Worms,” he said. And then he smiles big. Worms are as old as dirt, and Kevin has unleashed them better than most. "A million," he said again.
ChatGPT is a worthwhile thing and somebody has fed the machines data on growing food, but sometimes the ingenuity and stick-to-it-ness of graybeards and blue hairs trumps the digital marauders.
Of course, it depends on the makeup, and the soul, of the graybeard. You have to be open-minded and this is where Biggers’ story gets really cool.
In 1996, in Hesperia, Calif., Biggers won a city council seat. Six candidates. Two seats. He was the only Black man and he got the second seat because he saw how understaffed the police force was at night and he vowed to do something about it.
What about track and field?
Kevin laid out of athletics for 15 years after he tried to break through in pro football. Then, at 46, he started running again. Kevin considers himself "green" at Masters track. Interesting a farmer used the term "green."
“I’m still learning how to get out of the blocks,” he said.
Biggers' plotline is to compete until he is at least 100 years old. He met Hurricane Hawkins and figured, “She did it. Why can't I,?” says the full-time vegan. He enters four events a year, that’s all, on the advice of the legendary Masters track star Orville Rogers who said, “Don’t over do it.”
That advice is a little late. Kevin Biggers has been over-doing it his entire life.
Kevin's pictures to follow this commercial:
Geezer Jock is FREE. Please support this newsletter by visiting the store or making a contribution. There is value in storytelling of older folks and I want to keep doing it. Thank you.
Kevin's veggies. The worms work for him.
Dried flowers Kevin sells in frames.
Some of the cut flowers Kevin sells.
Rows of lavender.
May 08, 2023
Great story! We definitely need more Kevin’s! Not sure how he has the energy to run after long gardening days! 😀😀
May 06, 2023
Fabulous story—how inspirational!!
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May 23, 2023
LOVE this story and the photos—such an inspiration!! And he’s a vegan too—yay!!! I love eating plants. Hope to grow some one day and hope to keep running too. Thanks for the great story!