Watering Roots at Namu Farm

by Tiffani Patton

Last week, I attended Chuseok, a Korean Harvest celebration. The event was hosted by former Real Food Reads guest Korean-American farmer and seed saver Kristyn Leach at her farm. Chuseok is a big deal in Korea. Often likened to US Thanksgiving (without the history of genocide and colonization), it is a celebration rooted in agrarian tradition. Kristyn’s Chuseok celebration brought together allies and friends for an epic potluck and a chance to experience this important piece of Korean culture. As I felt the rhythms of pungmul—a Korean folk music tradition rooted in farm culture—and witnessed the offerings at the altar, I was beyond moved.

My identity as both Black and Korean comes with a unique set of complications, which have left me feeling estranged from Korean culture. However, the way Kristyn and the folks at Namu celebrated Chuseok felt different. It was centered on celebrating the land and community for their gifts—food, friendship, connection, and what it means to build and thrive in a mad world. All of that resonated so deeply with me. It struck me that this was the first time I’ve ever felt connected to my Korean roots through love and inclusion rather than rejection and pain. It was a reminder that through sharing food and stories, we can heal what needs healing. So much gratitude to Kristyn and everyone at Namu Farm.