Ietef Vita, a.k.a. DJ Cavem Moetavation, is a 30-year-old hip-hop artist, deejay, educator, organic gardener, and vegan chef. He grew up in Denver, Colorado’s Five Points neighborhood and was a member of the Eastside Gangstas, 29th set before he discovered organic gardening. Vita calls himself an OG. No, not an “original gangster,” an organic gardener. As unlikely as it sounds, gardening saved him from a life he says was going nowhere. Now he’s spreading the word through hip-hop, and a lot of influential people are listening.
Ietef Vita at the 2016 Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, California
This former gangster has something to say and what he chooses to talk about is how generations of people living in urban communities are passing down illnesses like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and high blood pressure. Vita lost his grandmother to Type 2 diabetes. He blames the problem in part on junk food marketing and a lack of healthy food in his community.
Vita’s trying to make things better. He counters images of “Thug Life” with “Kale Life” and his nonprofit summer camp, “Going Green, Living Bling,” teaches kids how to grow organic food and live a healthier life. His video “Cool to Live” (below) promotes growing green over joining gangs and doing drugs. We had a conversation with him at The National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, California.
“Cocaine doesn’t grow in my community but Kale does” – Letef “Dj Cavem” Vita