Soul Fire Farm Spotlight

For every purchase of The Brightland Artist Capsule this month, we are donating 25% of proceeds to Soul Fire Farm, a BIPOC-centered community farm that is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system.

Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against Black 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.

Based in Petersburg, New York, Soul Fire Farm use Afro-Indigenous farming practices to regenerate mountainside land, producing goods for the community with a majority going to people living under food apartheid and targeted by state violence. They actively fight institutional racism within communities by giving easy access to healthy food and offering hands-on learning opportunities throughout the year.

Through their Afro-Indigenous Farming immersion and workshops, they annually equip hundreds of adults and youth with the land-based skills needed to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-Indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid. Their programs include the Food Sovereignty Program, the Black and Latinx Farm Immersion Program, the Uprooting Racism Immersion, youth programs, and activists retreats. Soul Fire Farm is mobilizing the public to create a racially just food system.

To learn more about Soul Fire Farm, we highly recommend listening to this podcast with co-founder, Leah Penniman. Some quotes that deeply resonated with us from the podcast:

1. “We lived in a food apartheid neighborhood in the south side of Albany, which is where no matter how hard you tried, there was just no fresh, affordable, culturally appropriate food. People were really struggling with obesity and diabetes and heart disease.”

2. “What we found is for African heritage people in particular, there is a lot of trauma and triggering that would come up from being on the land, from being in a rural space and a white community, being in touch with the elements. I really believe that we have inherited that pain from a history of slavery, forced migration, sharecropping, tenant farming.”

3. “Food and land have been used as weapons of oppression against our people since the late 1400s and food and land are really supposed to be medicine for us, and a source of life. We have, in many ways, confused the oppressions that have taken place on land with the land itself."

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