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 (4×2 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
Kozuki Family Farms, Fresno CA. A 3rd Generation Japanese American Fruit Farm
Gary and Kaye Kozuki have had their orchard in their family for 100 years. Both Gary and Kaye’s grandparents left Japan at the start of the 1900s and worked in Hawai’i and then California as laborers. Gary’s grandfather acquired land near Fresno and managed to hold onto it even through WWII when both Gary and Kaye’s families were sent to the Japanese American Internment Camps. Kaye was born while her family was incarcerated in the camp. Today the Kozukis live on the land and grow many stone fruit varieties on over 750 acres.
More of the Kozuki story will be in the Color of Food book!
Blain Snipstal, Five Seeds Farm, La Via Campesina
Another brother to blow your mind. Listen as Blain, a 24 year old black peasant farmer, deconstructs history and connects to food sovereignty.
Eugene Cooke from Gebsite: Video on the Power of Water
This brother never ceases to blow my mind, ever since the day I met him. Eugene is a grower, a speaker and educator who travels the world to help create ‘local food systems of abundance.’ Check out a part of his speech honoring and recognizing the power of water.
The Color of Food Map: Mapping People of Color Revolutionizing the Food System in their Communities!
I wanted to make it clear that this map is just the tip of the iceberg.It does not even come close to representing all the farmers, food activists and organizations led by people of color out there doing amazing work. I wish it did, and it will one day. For now I still have a lot of updating to do to it since getting off the road from interviewing and photographing all these amazing folks all over the country for The Color of Food book! But you can help:
If there are farmers, gardeners and food activists or organizations led by communities of color you know are missing from this map ADD THEM! Add your organization or farm, add people you know or have them add themselves.*
JUST CLICK THE ADD BUTTON IN TOP RIGHT CORNER OF THE MAP!
*NOTE: The Color of Food is about highlighting projects led by communities of color, not just serving them.
Cynthia Hayes, Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network
I’ve had the honor not only to work with Cynthia Hayes and adopt her as my Mama C and amazing mentor, but I’ve also been blessed enough to meet, interview and photograph many of the Black farmers she works to support with SAAFON.
Fierce FisherWoman: Meet Kris Sampson of the Warm Springs Tribe in central Oregon.
Kris, her husband and their children fish for salmon on the Columbia River and Klickitat River and sell their fish at market. “I taught all my kids to fish so they have been fishing since they were babies. Fishing is a part of our culture and it is a right for us, regardless of the commercial seasons we fish, it’s our treaty right.”
Alberto Astuhuman, 73. Peruvian-American farmer in Eugene, OR.
Listen to this StoryCorps video about the folks behind East New York Farms!
East New York Farms! still holds a special place in my heart and was one of the first urban farms I volunteered at. These amazing young people are revolutionizing the urban food system in Brooklyn and setting examples for real community building.
Check out more of their StoryCorps videos here!
photo © FarmHer: Images of Women in Ag
Check out this Civil Eats post on women in agriculture with FarmHer! Happy to see women of color represented!
Meet Sulina of Sulina & Bay’s family farm near Portland, OR. Sulina and her family, from Laos, have been growing berries, flowers and many fruits and vegetables in Oregon for over 20 years. They were also farmers in Laos before buying their farm here. “In Laos we were farmers, we had no income, everything we ate we grew,” recalls Sulina. Today her and her husband work outside of the farm in addition to farming because as Sulina states, “this is not a dependable income. Sometimes market customers buy, sometimes not.” Her and her husband work the swing shift and spend the rest of their time running the farm and selling at farmers markets, like Lloyd Market in SE Portland.
Many of us as consumers forget how much work goes into a family farm, we have to support our local small and family farms!
Look for more about Sulina & Bay’s farm in the Color of Food book!
Meet Ty of the Urban League Harvest Garden in Portland!
(Yes, there are black people in Portland. In fact, this sister whom I was lucky enough to meet, is making that known with her amazing photography project: The Black Portlanders.)
Ty’s work, on the other hand, is making black folks in Portland’s food movement more visible and connected. “The food movement in Portland is strong,” says Ty, “but we saw an absence of people of color. So we [the Urban League] started the Urban League Harvest Garden three years ago to show that we’re here. We are getting more people involved and creating a space for people of color in the movement to find each other.”
I had a great time meeting many folks in the POC food movement of Portland at Ty’s garden party and at the Roots Festival where Kalimah and Intisar were displaying portraits from The Black Portlanders.
#Black Portland #Color of Food
That Fall Feelin’
Though I’m currently living in a part of the country that stays 85 degrees and humid year round, I can tell it’s the turn of the season. I can tell because I’ve started getting that bug to be in the kitchen and garden more than usual, as if I’m getting ready for some imaginary winter down here. Maybe it’s some internal clock still ticking away from our ancestors. Or some symbiotic signal from the Earth letting me know it’s time to start saving seed, baking, preserving and cooking plenty to keep us through the coming months. Whatever it is, it’s kicked on, as it does every year around this time – no matter where I happen to be living.
It’s my favorite time of year for that reason. I get more creative, feel more in tune with everything around me and eat a lot of yummy stuff! Every year I have some fall firsts and I try something I’ve never tried before. One year I tried painting a mural on my bedroom wall of an autumn tree. I collected red, orange and yellow leaves from my street in D.C. and stuck them to the painting. I loved it, like only a mother can love her crooked, odd looking baby…Read More
Amanda Kelley-Lopez, Choctaw/Chickasaw/Cherokee heritage, Wisdom Gardens Garden Coordinator
Amanda of Wisdom Gardens shows me one of the tobacco plants she brought from her garden at home. Amanda is also an artist and paints on large tobacco leaves that she grows!
Wisdom Gardens aims to heal Native people of historical trauma by bringing them back to the land. They are re-establishing native plants and Northwest berry plants in the area and have a community garden for local families, as well as a three-sisters garden and an ethno-botanical garden.
Look for more on Amanda and Wisdom Gardens in the Color of Food book!
Can you tell what 3 crops are growing here?
I’ll give you a guess: They are known to the Iroquois as the Three Sisters….
© photo taken at Wisdom Gardens in Portland, Oregon. Look out for my next post about my visit there!
Gifted by Farmers
To spend time with a farmer is to bask in the rich stories and intimate knowledge they hold of this land and all that it grows. To receive a gift of harvest or a product of that farmer’s labor is a priceless expression of love. I feel so grateful for all of these special gifts I get to receive continually in my work. So grateful that I could think of none other than expressing my gratitude here.
I was moved to write this after my final interview tour for Color of Food, where I spent 3 weeks driving from farm to farm and community to community throughout Washington, Oregon and California. When my backseat began filling up with everything from Shiso and Cilantro to Chayote and Guava, my rearview mirror enticed me to reflect more deeply…Read More »
Dehydrated Okra! Who knew?! I’m in love. <3
On tour for the Color of Food..
Damanti, a Bhutanese gardener at Namaste Community Garden in Tukwila, WA, walks through the lush garden surveying her and her neighbors’ plots.
Damanti and her husband Sekijar have been gardening here for a year and moved to the area five years ago. She smiled as she told me about their land back home and how it was the size of the entire area surrounding where we stood, instead of just the small plot they tended to now in the community garden.
Look for more about these gardeners and the Namaste garden in the Color of Food book! On tour now for more interviews…
Radical Intellect for Change – Meet Eddie Hill, a jack-of-all-trades most known for starting GroundUp Organics, teaching sustainable urban farming and consulting around Seattle for urban planning and revolutionizing the food system in his community (like at Central City Farm Trust, a project he’s currently helping get off the ground with Ray Williams).
I spent hours soaking up Eddie’s brilliant breakdown of the problems within our food system, within our communities and within our own mindsets as we fight for change. If you’re ever in Seattle or the various cities he travels to, I highly recommend a sit down with this brother!
Look for more about Eddie Hill and the projects going on in Seattle in the Color of Food book!
Una mujer fuerte – Meet Nelida Martinez, a Hispana/Mixteca farmer and business owner in Mt Vernon, WA.
Nelida left her work as a farmworker, and all the exposure to chemicals and illness it brought to her and her family, and started her own farm. She has two pieces of land, one of which is with Viva Farms where I spent my morning today getting my mind blown and my heart inspired!
More about Nelida and Viva Farms will be in the book!
Just had an amazing morning at Danny Woo Garden in Seattle!
While entering the terraced garden where Chinese, Korean and many other Asian American elders are growing, you see this proverb:
“May each step you take and each seed you sow, bring you closer to prosperity and happiness.”
And at the top of the garden, I did reach happiness, listening to stories, sharing laughter and capturing cross-generational giving.
Look for more about these gardeners and the Danny Woo garden in the Color of Food book! On tour now for more interviews…
Headed West !
Headed to the West coast for more Color of Food interviews! Stay posted as I highlight more farmers along the way!
A rare MLK speech on land and agriculture you may not have heard before!
Dr. King speaks on land and agriculture denied to Black families and the contradictions and discriminations of the government – amazing that his words still ring true today.
“At the very same time that America refused to give the [black community] any land, through an act of Congress, our government was giving away millions of acres of land [to white peasants from Europe]….and they are the very same people telling the black man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps ” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.