“Where my roots ain’t watered down…”
As Black people continue to seek out safe spaces for ourselves in the wake of racial and economic injustice, many of us are returning to the land. There is a poetic justice in seeing Black people turning to agriculture in silent protest of food deserts, that create a barrier to accessing healthy nourishment for many in urban areas, redlining and indoctrination that has made us ashamed of the labor our ancestors did to make this country what it is.
From community gardens to fresh farms and farm-to-table restaurants, Black women are firmly stepping into food justice activism by rolling up our sleeves and reuniting with the soil from which we came. Our community’s relationship to food has had lasting implications on our health and well-being; therefore, this moment is one to be highlighted in all its splendor. The moment that Black women, once again, have taken up the mantle of doing the work to make us all better.
Kanchan Dawn Hunter of Spiral Gardens- Berkley, CA
This California-based nonprofit community farm hosts everything from racial justice classes to healing salve lessons. They provide the freshest in citrus, berries, and all the green things we desperately need for our overall health. They also teach members of the community how to grow their own produce at home.
Jamila Norman of Patch Work City Farms- Atlanta, GA
A recognized urban farmer, food activist, and yoga practitioner, Jamila Norman operates a fully independent organic farm in Atlanta, GA. She also serves on the board of Georgia Organics and is a member of the Atlanta Farmers Coalition. Norman is also a founding member of the South West Atlanta Growers Cooperative. This co-op exists to strengthen Atlanta’s Black farmers and to create a culturally responsible Atlanta food system. She is currently the host of “Home Grown” on the Magnolia Network streaming on discovery+.
Kelis of Bounty Farms- California
Yes, that Kelis. What started as Kelis bottling up some of her infamous sauces and recipes has grown to her having her very own farm, Bounty. While you can still partake in her Bounty & Full gold mine boxes, the trendsetting pop star is busy tending to her livestock (some of which are named after influential Black musicians), her garden, and her children. Kelis has been outspoken about decisively turning away from an industry that did not, figuratively speaking, feed her and focusing on things that speak to her soul. We love to see it!
Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm- Upstate New York
Penniman co-founded the Soul Fire Farm in 2011 and wears many hats to contribute to its success. As a farmer, trainer, author, speaker, and food activist, Leah and the staff of Soul Fire work to end racism and injustice within the food system. Her book, Farming While Black, is “a comprehensive manual for small-scale African-heritage farmers in reclaiming their place in the food system utilizing traditional farming practices and regaining their connection to land.”
Gail Taylor of Three Part Harmony Farm- Washington, DC
As owner and operator of Three Part Harmony Farm, Gail Taylor supplies organic and local produce to her community through a multiform CSA. This means that her fresh produce supply includes veggies from partner farms, expanding the produce one may receive. Three Part Harmony looks to create a fair food economy.
Wife of rapper Kevin Gates and a well-respected entrepreneur in her own right, Dreka Gates felt the urge to leave Los Angeles and move their family permanently to a farm at the beginning of last year. She had no idea that the world was about come to a standstill but says that a spiritual recognition of the earth being in a state of discontent was the push she needed to make the move. She shares updates from their growing farm and their budding garden regularly.