WORDS & IMAGES: KATE WEINER
Several months ago, I had the privilege of speaking to Natasha Bowens, author of The Color of Food, for our very first Loam Bookshelf Series (read our profile here). I was deeply moved by Natasha's nuanced approach to sustainable agriculture and land stewardship. Her fearlessness as a farmer, writer, and ethnographer was profoundly inspiring. And I was touched by how thankful she was to the communities that she worked with. Natasha's activism is a tangible reminder that there is nothing good that we do alone. It's true to the world; it's true to our little Loam home.
And so when I checked Yes! Magazine this morning after a two-day hiatus, I was especially excited to read her latest work (PSA: Make Yes! part of your daily routine. This conduit for "Powerful Ideas//Practical Actions" is my cuppa coffee). Natasha's article "The Color of Food: How Gardens and Farms Can Help Us Heal From a History of Racism" is a game changer, at once heartbreaking to read and enormously healing.
Sitting at the table with so many farmers doing revolutionary work taught me that farming isn’t only about stewarding the land; it’s also about stewarding community and tending the soul. The land beneath our feet carries our history and carries freedom. It is healing and empowering and can be a commons that binds us together. My history traces back to the moment my ancestors’ shackled feet hit this soil, when the African farmer became the American slave. Today, continued racism makes healing crucial. In our gardening plots and on our farms, we can reclaim a connection with the land that was there long before the oppression. We can liberate ourselves by having sovereignty over our square of soil, over our food, and over our bodies.
If you do anything today, read this article. Hold these words in your heart. And collaborate with your community, however you can, whenever you can, to bring this liberation to bear.