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Soul Fire Farm’s Leah Penniman On Farming While Black

Close-up of two black women squatting and working with green bean plants in a field.

Tending crops at Soul Fire Farm/Photo by Neshima Vitale-Penniman. (Courtesy of Chelsea Green Publishing)

“The book was written to uplift the noble and dignified history of Black agrarianism and to debunk the myth that our only relationship to land has been in the context of slavery and sharecropping” 

This week on Earth Eats, a rebroadcast of our conversation with Leah Penniman — Farmer, educator, organizer, and author of a new book, Farming while Black: Soul Fire Farm’s practical guide to Liberation on the Land.

And we have a story from Harvest Public Media about US farmers hurting during the pandemic, due to a lack of farm workers with H-2A visas. 

Leah Penniman is the co-founder, co-director and program manager of Soul Fire Farm In Grafton, New York.

Soul Fire Farm is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. The farm operates a one hundred member CSA and hosts many training opportunities, including a Black, Latinx and Indigenous Farmers Immersion program.

Our conversation touches on issues such as access to fresh food and farmland for people of color in the US. Leah talks about debunking the myth of black people’s relationship to land being confined to slavery and sharecropping, and what it means to celebrate and reclaim the practices and traditions of African, Immigrant and Indigenous growers throughout history.

Leah Penniman’s book, Farming While Black was released in October 2018 with Chelsea Green Publishing

Learn more about ideas discussed in our interview with Leah Penniman:

4 Not-So-Easy Ways to Dismantle Racism in the Food System

Reparations and a Reparations Map for Black-Indigenous Farmers

Soul Fire Farm Action Steps for Food Sovereignty

Uprooting Racism in the Food System Immersion Program

Leah’s article in Yes! Magazine about the Black and Latinx Immersion Program

Stories On This Episode

Farmers Find Help Close To Home As COVID-19 Keeps Some Guest Workers Away

Men (mostly caucasian) in t-shirts sitting around tables eating inside a metal sided barn.

It’s planting season across much of the United States, and some farmers who rely on foreign guest workers are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though the immigration ban announced by president Trump this week will likely not apply to H-2A Visa holders, there are other hurdles.

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