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A Talk with Author Leah Penniman about Her Book "Farming While Black"

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A Talk with Author Leah Penniman about Her Book "Farming While Black"


Join us for a gathering with Author Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm's Founding Co-Director & Program Manager. Leah Penniman will be discussing her book, Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation of the Land. 

Leah Penniman will share the stage with Naima Penniman of Climbing Poetree, followed by a panel discussion of local black farmers, including Chris Edwards of Mayflor Farms, JoVonna Johnson-Cooke of MaituFoods & Grow Where You Are, Ras Kofi of On Da Farm and Jamila Norman of Patchwork City Farms. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Ashante Reece of the Spelman College Food Studies Program. 

A book signing will follow the panel discussion. Books will be available to purchase at the event, or you can bring your own copy to be signed. Chef Zu of Kings Apron, plant based chef and holistic nutritionist will provide a tasting during the book signing. 

This event is brought to you by MaituFoods, Grow Where You Are, Slow Food Spelman College, Spelman College Food Studies Program and Slow Food Atlanta.  





Please click "Register" above to reserve a seat. This event is free and open to the public. 

Public parking is available in the Spelman College West Parking Deck.  The associated fee is $3.00. The acceptable forms of payment are: cash and all major credit and debit cards with the VISA and MC logos. 

Plan to arrive by 1:30pm to park and walk to the auditorium for check-in.









More About the book Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation of the Land. 

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, including:





Finding Land and Resources



Writing a Farm Business Plan



Honoring the Spirits of the Land with Planting and Harvesting Rituals



Restoring Degraded Land through No-Till and Biological Tillage



Crop Planning for Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs



Preserving the Harvest and Saving Seed



Raising Animals Sustainably and Humanely



Urban Farming, including a guide to laws and land access



Movement Building through education, direct action, & policy change



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.”





“This masterpiece of Afro-indigenous sovereignty sheds light on the richness of Black culture permeating throughout agriculture.”— Karen Washington, from the foreword


“Farming While Black is such an incredible gift to our movement. From Black history to soil health to movement building to land preservation, this book is incredibly generous in offering a roadmap for Black people to return to our rich, land-based heritage. Calling all farmers, organizers, and lovers of freedom to pick up this book, read, share, study, and build together. In the words of freedom fighter Assata Shakur: ‘Carry on the tradition.’ Our movement needs this.”— Dara Cooper, National Black Food and Justice Alliance


“The gift Leah has so generously offered within these pages is a glorious invitation to heal; at the heart of the movement for liberation is the opportunity to heal intergenerational trauma. The most authentic way to do so is to cultivate the earth, eat the foods of your ancestors, reweave yourself back into the story that has been sprouting from the village hearth since time immemorial. With these teachings of resilience, channeled from her countless generations of wise ancestors, she has watered seeds of hope that will nourish many beyond our time.”— Rowen White, Mohawk farmer; Indigenous Seed Keepers Network






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