review by Anna Muhammad
Farming While Black is a great resource that provides both ‘how-to’ for the new and novice farmer while giving historical context to injustice and theft of lands from Black farmers and farmers of color.
In Farming While Black, Leah Penniman provides historic notes and clear explanation on the damage that white supremacy and racism has done to Black farmers and farmers of color. At the same time, Leah provide resources for farmers to plan the farming enterprise in detail, look for funding (there are listings of crowdfunding organizations, USDA farm financing agencies and other organizations can provide funding for new farmers.) Leah also gives a clear description of the road that she took to establish her farm and the community drive that encourage her to take on such a great task. Her story and the book provide real world examples of the pitfalls, mistakes and missteps that slow down any new farmer.
Lastly, between the resource listings and budget planning, Farming While Black lists how African, Latinix, Caribbean and other people of color grew food using age-old organic practices. There are constant references to how food was grown organically by various communities of color (Yoruba, Haitian, Cuban, Ghanaian, Native American and US Southern farmers). Critical information for planning crops, soil testing and sampling, soil enhancements, and cover cropping are included that both the new farmer and experienced farmer can learn from. Wonderful recipes from the African Diaspora complete the readers’ travel experience and acquaints them with what freedom feels and tastes like.
This book is certainly a complete anthology into the footsteps of the ancestors through tragedy and triumph of farming, while celebrating the freedom and liberation of people of color. It gives any potential farmer or active farmer the needed knowledge, history and tools to be successful and assist with dismantling racism in US Farming practices.