Happy Juneteenth! Reposting this favorite painting from last year’s post:
Celebrating the seeds our ancestors planted to start our current agriculture system, and those still being planted today.
Celebrating Emancipation and continued Freedom. Happy Juneteenth!
Art by Gullah artist, John W. Jones
"Foods are our Teachers" from Valerie Segrest, Muckleshoot Tribe
I just wrote the last farmer chapter for The Color of Food book!! And as if I’m not already feelin’ good about that, the last line of the chapter, entitled Foods are Our Teachers, poses a question that has me shutting off my computer for the day feeling even more charged. Valerie Segrest of the Muckleshoot Tribe in western Washington asks:
"How can we live our lives like our teachers, the plants and foods around us? How do we grow and thrive in diversity and be big medicine in the world?”
photo from ravenredbone.wordpress.com
Yes I just found them. Yes I have fallen in love. And yes there is more to their mission than their bad ass & hilarious flavor of healthy food.
Thug Kitchen is “getting readers to think about what kind of behaviors they attribute to people who try to eat healthy food. Everyone deserves to feel a part of our country’s push toward a healthier diet, not just people with disposable incomes who speak a certain way.”
Kristyn Leach, Namu Farm, San Francisco, CA
From Generation Rising, a chapter in The Color of Food's upcoming book!
“I wanted to grow something distinctly Korean and I sort of stumbled upon the seeds for perilla (known as deulkkae or ggaennip in Korean). It’s a staple Korean herb. I brought some into Namu Gaji, a Korean American restaurant in SF. And their response to it was magical. Now I farm for the restaurant. It’s interesting how it’s turned out, having been adopted away from Korea and raised out of my culture, now coming back to my roots through food. It’s very validating.” - Kristyn Leach, 33 , Namu Farm
“There’s an epidemic of sickness among my people, my community. It has a direct correlation with the food, the food that we eat and the food choices that are available to us. It’s important for people to know how important their diet is to their life.” - Manny García, 25 years old, 2012 AFSC Farmer Training Student, New Mexico
#The Color of Food Book #Latino Farmers #Young Farmers
A Reflection on Teaching Youth Agriculture, an excerpt from Generation Rising, a chapter in The Color of Food book!
“I wanted to work in the garden with people who grew up like me and didn’t necessarily have a connection to land or growing food, and thought of dirt as something that you wash off of you and not something you put your hands in. The little ones, they get revelations as magical. Just digging in the dirt and eating new things would blow their minds, it was so powerful. To question where our food comes from, to question where anything comes from, like our history books or authority, I wished I’d had that in my pocket as a seven year old. It’s about food but it’s also about deep change.” - Cristina Rivera-Chapman, Tierra Negra Farms
The Color of Food has a Publisher!
New Society Press will be publishing The Color of Food book in 2015
I am excited to announce that after four long years since the idea for The Color of Food was born, after much travel interviewing and working hard to put the stories and portraits of farmers of color into a book over the last two years, The Color of Food now has a publisher! It’s official - I just signed a contract with New Society Press to have The Color of Food published! And I could not have made it to this point without your support from the beginning.
It has been a long journey to find a publisher, one that has been quite a learning curve for me. After much research, writing and sending many book proposals, the responses came in with overwhelming interest from presses including: Beacon Press, Cornell University Press, Columbia University Press and University of Georgia Press among many others. The decision to sign with New Society Press was ultimately made based on their progressive, activist-centered ideals, their deep understanding of this book’s mission, their experience with books on farming and their sustainable printing methods. New Society’s capacity to print all of the colorful portraits in this book was significant - and they will print them with eco-friendly inks on eco-friendly paper.I look forward to updating you as this journey to the book launch unfolds. Still a lot of work ahead, but look out for pre-order information a little further down the road!
With the biggest grin - thank you!
Food Network called me about joining this show, I declined, but told them I’d help outreach! Want to start a food truck in your community? Check it out! And hit me up if you’re serious.
Happy Women’s Day from The Color of Food!! #womensday
In honor of Women’s History Month and Women’s Day tomorrow, here’s to women in Ag and the female farmers of our future! #womensday
Celebrating Our Black Farmers for Black History Month
WFU Divinity School presents Half the Earth, Half the Sky: A Conference on Women, Food & Faith
Excited to be presenting portraits and stories from The Color of Food at this women’s food conference on March 19 at Wake Forest University in NC! Honored to be speaking alongside women such as my mentor Cynthia Hayes of Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network!
Oral History of a Black Agrarian New Orleans, from The Color of Food
Jenga Mwendo in the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans:
Gardening and growing your own food was just a part of the life in the Lower Nine. People would forage in the bayou for wild onions and pepper grass or take their dogs out to hunt or catch crawfish when the rivers would flood. People in this neighborhood have always been more connected with the land, hunting and fishing in the river, because the Lower Ninth Ward was kind of rural and cut off from the rest of the city when they dug the Industrial Canal in the 1920s. This area used to be one of the few places during segregation where black people could come and buy property and build communities, it was like a safe little bubble for black people to grow and prosper.
Despite that connection to the land, folks never really think about themselves as gardeners or part of urban agriculture - nobody uses those terms, it’s just what they do. It’s a cultural tradition and this work is about encouraging and supporting that.
-Jenga Mwendo, Backyard Gardeners Network
Oral History pulled from The Color of Food book currently in production!
© Artwork “Bayou Fishing” by Knute Heldner
Eugene Cooke in Atlanta, Gebsite featured on HGTV Gardens!
"Some people like to talk about being a farmer, but the way things are shifting, we have to do so much more to make people want to deal with the land."
How does Cooke describe what he does? “I create food abundance systems,” he says, “which means grow food wherever you are, and in a way that’s abundant.”
Pang Chang, PEC Tropical Farm, Fresno CA
Pang, a Hmong farmer who fled from Laos in the ’70s when the Hmong came under attack throughout Laos and Vietnam, found refuge in California and started doing what had been passed down to him from generation to generation: farming.
He now grows rare tropical fruits like papaya, guava and jujubes (Chinese dates) right in the heart of the dry central valley of California and sells them to Asian markets throughout the state.
Working on reorganizing stories/chapters for The Color of Food book!
#SharingtheProcess #DocumentingtheDocumenting #GotMyOwnGoogleGlass :)
The Color of Food Prints!
When not exhibiting The Color of Food portraits they happily live on the walls of my office :) I particularly like my power wall of women for inspiration!
Check out some available prints in my shop
So proud of this sister, mother and friend for all her work with The BLK Projek and their upcoming Mobile Market, Food Buying Club and Urban Farm in the South Bronx. If you haven’t heard of Tanya Fields, check a sistah out.
Happy New Year! What are your hopes and dreams for this year? What are your goals for your work, garden/farm, health or peace of mind? What lessons did 2013 bring you?
2013 for me was definitely a year of growth, even if not so much from the soil. Not only did I grow personally and in my relationships, but I grew stronger in my work, passions and health.
I grew to become more knowledgeable about practicing natural/herbal healing (my bathroom is beginning to resemble a tincture lab). I grew into a stronger cook and deepened my knowledge in health and nutrition (for fun I like to make nut milks and butters and homemade protein bars). And I finally fell in love with exercising and kept a consistent work-out routine for longer than I ever have (people know my name at the gym now, that’s never happened).
I challenged myself in my work, embarking on things I’d never done before, riding the steep learning curve and accomplishing more than I thought I could.
I found myself at gatherings surrounded by inspiring mentors and felt honored to be there, presenting my work at places like Purdue and Tuskegee. I also grew into a stronger woman after being in empowering circles of women, like when at the Women of Color Retreat.
I completed all of my interviews for The Color of Food and at the end of last year I sent the book proposal to many publishers and received a lot of amazing responses!!
So 2014 is looking bright for The Color of Food getting published! I’ll also be getting married this year! My other goals are to continue my love affair with food, earth and health. Specifically deepening my knowledge and practice of preserving foods (I got a dehydrator for Christmas!), continuing to learn in the garden(I manually pollenated all my squash for the first time!) and continuing my practice of natural healing (I <3 tamanu and oregano oil).
Basically, I’m thinking 2014 will be my year to glow from the inside out. I hope the same for you :)
A Southern Legacy
With orange and red leaves crunching underfoot and crisp, cold air on my cheek, I walked alongside the George Washington Carver Museum and towards the Booker T. Washington monument where voices sang out from the chapel next door. I had arrived on Tuskegee’s historic campus in the deep south of Alabama…Read More
The Color of Food Exhibit at Tuskegee University
I am honored beyond words to announce that The Color of Food has been invited to exhibit portraits of farmers of color, and particularly women and young farmers, at Tuskegee’s 71st Annual Professional Agricultural Workers Conference!
To celebrate and highlight Black, Latino, Native and Asian farmers in this country at one of our oldest farmers’ conferences, started by Booker T. Washington in 1894, at one of the most influential universities for Black and marginalized farmers, is an incredible moment for The Color of Food and one that speaks directly to the heart of the project.
I am so excited!! If you are attending PAWC next week December 8-10, come find me and the exhibit!
Grow Where You Are
While the growing season for many is ending in parts of the country, down here in South Florida we are just getting started! The heat has begun to give us and our plants relief and, though the rain is still coming late into the rainy season, the soil seems happier.
I moved down here late into the season at the beginning of this year so I didn’t have time to get much growing. But this year my fiancé and I built a little garden box on our back patio (4x2 bed). That’s sadly about all the soil I have access to this year while working on The Color of Food book, but as my friend Eugene would say, you gotta “Grow Where You Are.”
Because of the Florida heat and the fact that the cement patio absorbs a lot of that heat, we wanted to be sure the garden box had some room to breathe and keep cool. So we…. Read More
Kitchen Kwento: Meet Aileen Suzara, a Filipina/American chef, grower and writer
Aileen is a natural chef who connects with the traditional foods of her ancestors through her cooking and writes about stories that connect us to the earth, people and places we call home. She is a graduate of the UC Santa Cruz CASFS Farm Apprentice program and is now involved in activism and education in northern CA!
I wanted to highlight Aileen’s blog this week because she has written an important piece on the destruction and loss in the Philippines in the aftermath of the typhoon. Please Read: In The Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan