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Down to Earth

Leah Penniman fell in love with farming when she was a teenager, became a farmer and food justice advocate, and with her husband founded Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York. The farm provides food in for those with limited access to fresh produce, and it’s a center for teaching and learning about farming and African/indigenous heritage for people of color. Leah’s new book, Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land, is a profound and wide-ranging exploration of everything from the practical details of how to start a farm to the rich history of African-heritage farming and healing traditions.

2’22 how Leah discovered the positive side of Black history in agriculture
4’27 slavery, emancipation, land ownership, and institutional oppression of black farmers
6’16 participation in civil rights led to denial of benefits and services
7’26. research leading to this book–indigenous wisdom from the Caribbean to Africa
8’49 how Soul Fire Farm began
8’59 food apartheid in south Albany
10’40 how they improved the soil on the new farm
11’37 they grow over 100 different foods, including those with cultural significance
12’45 how the farm is a response to food deserts/food apartheid
14’14. does this work economically
15’44 farm work as skill-building, inspiration, and healing for urban youth
18’06 the positive effects of working outdoors for African heritage people
19’40 what happens to alumni of Soul Fire programs
21’11 changes in the people eating healthy food
22’35 passing land from older to younger farmers
24’25 urban farming for health and community
25’52 restoration of organic matter to the soil as part of healing from colonialism
26’24 indigenous history of corn/maize and what it’s become as a monocrop
28’44 the sense of joy permeating the book
29’49 leadership of black people throughout the history of farming
30’51 how the book has been received so far
31’35 do you still have time to farm?
32’30 the question of who grows our food, not just how it’s grown