Farming While Black: Restoring Sacred and Just Relationship with the Land & One Another with Leah Penniman

Photo credit: Jamel Mosely

Photo credit: Jamel Mosely

The soil stewards of generations past recognized that healthy soil is not only imperative for our food security—it is also foundational for our cultural and emotional well-being.” ~ Leah Penniman

In this episode, we are speaking with Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm. You’ll experience her pioneering energy that supports our collective re-memberance of our sacred connection to land and the ways we can begin to unravel and heal the injustices of the imposed systems as a community.

Leah’s work with Soul Fire Farm is to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, promote equity in food access, and train the next generation of activist farmers.

Her book Farming While Black, is the first comprehensive manual for African-heritage people ready to reclaim their rightful place of dignified agency in the food system, with a concise “how-to” for all aspects of small-scale farming. But it’s not just Is a compendium of “how-tos” for small scale farming... it’s rich with historical context and weaving in the pragmatic with spirituality, soil ecology, planning, tools, plant medicine, healing trauma, and movement building. Leah breaks it all down for us in this episode!

Show Notes

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How Leah found a comrade in nature and cultivated a relationship that led to farming as a teenager

  • As a young person worked on many farms and realized that the sustainable agriculture world was super “white” and how she didn’t feel represented

  • How Leah found a mentor in Karen Washington Rise & Root Farm

  • How the story we’ve been told about farming is inaccurate and incomplete

  • Leah breaks down the external barriers and the history of exile, discrimination, violence and denigration of black people and forced disconnection from land

  • The importance of the return of black and brown people to the land and the need to fix land injustice

  • What are reparations and how can people give back and redistribute access and resources

  • How 98% of land is owned by white people and there is a 16:1 wealth gap between white folks and black folks at birth, the history of dispossession

  • Soul Fire Farm’s Action guide based on voices of black and indigenous people of color

  • How Leah weaves in spirituality with science in her book and in real life

  • How farming has allowed Leah to unfold into her whole self at Soul Fire, and Leah’s mission of supporting others to be able to experience the same

  • How Leah has navigated parenthood and raising her 2 children at Soul Fire Farm

  • Leah’s favorite resources in addition to her book (which also contains tons of resources!)

  • Learn the ways to support Leah Penniman’s work and Soul Fire Farm

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Connect With Leah Penniman

WebsiteInstagram | Twitter | Facebook

Farming While Black Instagram @farmingwhileblack


Support Soul Fire Farm + Action Steps for Food Sovereignty

Resources + Links Mentioned 

Dr. Monica White’s Freedom Farmers

Dr Ashanté M. Reese Black Food Geographies

Robin Wall Kimmerer Braiding Sweetgrass

Aurora Levins Morales Medicine Stories


Wildly Rooted Resources

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