“We need to flood the entire system with life-affirming principles and practices, to clear the channels between us of the toxicity of supremacy, to heal from the harms of a legacy of devaluing some lives and needs in order to indulge others.”
We love this quote (and all the quotes, really) from the activist booklet We Will Not Cancel Us by our patron saint of emergent strategy, Adrienne Maree Brown. To be clear, this is a quote about abolition—the work of clearing out that which chokes out life to make space for that which nourishes it.
In abolition work, agriculture is both a powerful metaphor and a terrain of struggle. As Ashanté Reese and Randolph Carr remind us, the plantation paradigm of violence and control still looms large in our food system and beyond. In its most literal form, prison labor fuels profits for agribusiness, big food corporations, and the prison-industrial complex (see, for instance, Episode 5 of Foodtopias).
The violence spills out well beyond the farm, of course, not only onto policed streets and other public spaces, but into the most intimate private places where we all expect and deserve comfort and safety. We have to say his name: Amir Locke, the most recent high-profile murder of a young Black person during a no-knock warrant.
As Minneapolis suspends the use of this policing tool, one can almost hear the collective sigh of frustration: even if this manages to become a permanent moratorium, it’s hardly a drop in the bucket towards ensuring the right to safety for Black people and other communities of color.
While we continue to advocate for defunding and dismantling the carceral state, we also know that transformative justice takes root in the micro, non-state spaces where we “get skilled at… healing that changes material conditions” (again, Adrienne Maree Brown). To this end, we hope you’ll join us this Friday for a conversation on how Black and BIPOC farmers are creating such spaces.
In community and solidarity,
Tanya, Tiffani, Christina, and Anna