For your consideration, we offer a selection of writings and presentations at the intersection of food and justice, focussed especially on the empowerment of people of color. To suggest additional resources for this list, please use the form below.
“We Want a Co-op!”
Renaissance Community Co-op in Greensboro, NC
Soul Fire Farm: Feeding the Soul, Growing Community
Video of Leah Penniman and family for the Laura Flanders Show, March 15, 2016
Collective Courage: A Conversation on Cooperation in African-American Communities
Interview of Jessica Gordon Nembhard on The Laura Flanders Show, May 27, 2014
Food + Justice = Democracy
Presentation by LaDonna Redmond, TEDxManhattan, March 4, 2013
Fostering a Racially Just Food System: An Up & Coming Food Co-op Conference Video
Presentation by Malik Yakini at the Up & Coming Conference, August 22, 2016
Food Security | The Lexicon of Sustainability
PBS Food, June 11, 2014
The Power of Ideas & The Idea of Power
Presentation by Ed Whitfield, Fund for Democratic Communities, January 8, 2016
Growing community through a food co-op
Presentation by Michelle Lopez-Dohrn, TEDxOjai, October 22, 2013
- Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
By Leah Penniman, (Chelsea Green Publishing; Release Date: November 8, 2018)
FROM THE FORWARD: “Farming While Black teaches us the fundamental acts of growing food and growing community.”—Karen Washington
DESCRIPTION from Chelsea Green Publishing: “‘Revolution is based on land. Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality.’—Malcolm X’Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to their decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than 2 percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land. Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems. Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by author, activist, and farmer Leah Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. Through innovative programs such as the Black-Latinx Farmers Immersion, a sliding-scale farmshare CSA, and Youth Food Justice leadership training, Penniman is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid. And now, with Farming While Black, Penniman extends that work by offering the first comprehensive manual for African-heritage people ready to reclaim their rightful place of dignified agency in the food system. This one-of-a-kind guide provides readers with a concise “how-to” for all aspects of small-scale farming….Throughout, Penniman includes “Uplift” sidebars to elevate the wisdom of the African Diasporic farmers and activists whose work informs the techniques described, as well as an honest and transparent look at the real work being done at Soul Fire Farm every day. ‘Stewarding our own land, growing our own food, educating our own youth, participating in our own healthcare and justice systems,’ Penniman writes, ‘this is the source of real power and dignity.’”
- Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice
By Jessica Gordon Nembhard (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014)
DESCRIPTION: “In Collective Courage, Jessica Gordon Nembhard chronicles African American cooperative business ownership and its place in the movements for Black civil rights and economic equality. Not since W. E. B. Du Bois’s 1907 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans has there been a full-length, nationwide study of African American cooperatives. Collective Courage extends that story into the twenty-first century….To tell the story, Gordon Nembhard uses a variety of newspapers, period magazines, and journals; co-ops’ articles of incorporation, minutes from annual meetings, newsletters, budgets, and income statements; and scholarly books, memoirs, and biographies. These sources reveal the achievements and challenges of Black co-ops, collective economic action, and social entrepreneurship. Gordon Nembhard finds that African Americans, as well as other people of color and low-income people, have benefited greatly from cooperative ownership and democratic economic participation throughout the nation’s history.
- Everyone Welcome? Personal narratives about race and food co-ops
By Patricia Cumbie and Jade Barker (CDS Consulting Co-op, 2017)
DESCRIPTION: “We believe that now is a critical time to engage our cooperative community in important conversations about racism and oppression. Everyone Welcome? Personal Narratives about Race and Food Co-ops presents a variety of perspectives on what can be done to make food co-ops more racially inclusive. Fifteen co-operators from a variety of backgrounds — class, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation — talk about their introduction to co-ops and respond to two questions: how did food co-ops become so white and what can be done to make food co-ops more racially inclusive? We think storytelling is an excellent medium for exploring these themes, and we invite you to use these narratives as a springboard for your own discussions about racial issues affecting your co-op and your community.”
See more resources on diversity and inclusion in the CDS Consulting Co-op Library.
- Black, white, and green: Farmers markets, race, and the green economy
By Alkon, A. H. (2012). Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
View “Black, white, and green” in Google Scholar
- Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability
Edited by Alison Hope Alkon and Julian Agyeman (MIT Press, 2011)
Preview “Cultivating Food Justice” in Google Books
- The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation, and Collective Action
Edited by Alison Hope Alkon and Julie Guthman (University of California Press, 2017)
Preview “The New Food Activism” in Google Books
- The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming
By Natasha Bowens (New Society Publishers, 2015)
Preview “The Color of Food” in Google Books
- For Asian Immigrants, Cooperatives Came From the Home Country
By Yvonne Yen Liu (Yes! Magazine, May 22, 2018)
- 4 Not-So-Easy Ways to Dismantle Racism in the Food System
By Leah Penniman (Yes! Magazine, April 27, 2017)
- Concerning the unbearable whiteness of urban farming
By Antonio Roman-Alcalá (Food Systems Journal, San Francisco, California)
- Decolonizing food justice: Naming, resisting, and researching colonizing forces in the movement.
By Bradley, K., & Herrera, H. (Antipode, 48(1), 97–114, 2016)
- Food justice: What’s race got to do with it?
By Billings, D., & Cabbil, L. (Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts, 5(1), 103–112, 2011)
- Injustice on our plates: Immigrant women in the U.S. food industry.
By Bauer, M., & Ramirez, M. (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2010)
A Network and A Training Site
- Kent Alexander — social justice workshop facilitator [LinkedIn]
- Dr. Amanda Kemp — racial justice and mindfulness mentor [dramandakemp.com]
Suggest More Resources