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Book Recommendations: Black Farming & Food



The month of February is recognized as Black History Month in the United States. It was first celebrated by a group of Black educators and students, who proposed the idea the previous year, at Kent State University in 1970. Black History Month became nationally recognized in 1976 under the Ford Administration.


February is a good time to intentionally learn about and celebrate Black figures and accomplishments in America. But, we believe it is also important to continue growing our knowledge and support of the Black community ALL year, not just during one month.


As this year's Black History Month wraps up, we want to leave you with some book recommendations and encourage you to do some extra homework around Black farming, Black food, and food apartheid.


Below is a list of 10 books on Black farming, agriculture, food access, folk-medicine, and more. We hope you'll pick up a book or two and keep on learning about Black history and celebrating Black futures and Black joy all year long!




Farming While Black

Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land

By Leah Penniman

Order the book: Publisher | Amazon


From the publisher:

Farming While Black is the first comprehensive "how to" guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture.


Throughout the chapters Penniman uplifts the wisdom of the African diasporic farmers and activists whose work informs the techniques described--from whole farm planning, soil fertility, seed selection, and agroecology, to using whole foods in culturally appropriate recipes, sharing stories of ancestors, and tools for healing from the trauma associated with slavery and economic exploitation on the land. Woven throughout the book is the story of Soul Fire Farm, a national leader in the food justice movement.


Bonus: Check out Lia Penniman's keynote speech at the Moses Organic Conference here as she walks you through a brief history of African agriculture.




Freedom Farmers

Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement

Dr. Monica White

Order the book: Publisher | Amazon


From the publisher:

Freedom Farmers expands the historical narrative of the black freedom struggle to embrace the work, roles, and contributions of southern Black farmers and the organizations they formed. Whereas existing scholarship generally views agriculture as a site of oppression and exploitation of black people, this book reveals agriculture as a site of resistance and provides a historical foundation that adds meaning and context to current conversations around the resurgence of food justice/sovereignty movements in urban spaces like Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, and New Orleans.



Black Food Geographies

Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access

Ashante M. Reese

Order the book: Publisher | Amazon


From the publisher:

In this book, Ashanté M. Reese makes clear the structural forces that determine food access in urban areas, highlighting Black residents’ navigation of and resistance to unequal food distribution systems. Linking these local food issues to the national problem of systemic racism, Reese examines the history of the ma