Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land

Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to their decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than 2 percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land.  Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems.

Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by author, activist, and farmer Leah Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. Through innovative programs such as the Black-Latinx Farmers Immersion, a sliding-scale farmshare CSA, and Youth Food Justice leadership training, Penniman is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and promote equity in food access. 

And now, with Farming While Black, Penniman extends that work by offering the first comprehensive manual for African-heritage people ready to reclaim their rightful place of dignified agency in the food system. “Stewarding our own land, growing our own food, educating our own youth, participating in our own healthcare and justice systems,” Penniman writes, “this is the source of real power and dignity.”

Praise for Farming While Black

“This masterpiece of indigenous sovereignty sheds light on the richness of Black culture permeating throughout agriculture.” — Karen Washington, from the foreword

About the Author

Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol farmer who has been tending the soil for twenty years and organizing for an anti-racist food system for fifteen years. She currently serves as founding co-executive director of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, a people-of-color led project that works to dismantle racism in the food system through a low cost fresh food delivery service for people living under food apartheid, training programs for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous aspiring farmer-activists, Uprooting Racism training for food justice leaders, and regional-national-international coalition building between farmers of color advocating for policy shifts and reparations. She has been recognized by the Soros Equality Fellowship, NYSHealth Emerging Innovator Awards, and Fulbright Distinguished Awards, among others. Find out more about Leah’s work at www.soulfirefarm.org and follow her @soulfirefarm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  

Header photo by Capers Rumph