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Earth, Spirit, and Race: Confronting America’s Legacy of Food Injustice and Discrimination

Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 121 p.m.


Chattel slavery, institutional racism, and government policies alienated enslaved people and their descendants from the land. This continues to result in food insecurity, poor health, and property loss. Today, less than 2 percent of working farms are owned by Black Americans.

Activists, gardeners, authors, and farmers are rediscovering Black America’s rich agricultural heritage and its roots in spirituality and religious traditions. They are advocating for a new and empowering relationship with food production and the natural world. One of the leading voices of this new movement is Soul Fire Farm. Located in upstate New York, Soul Fire Farm is “an Afro-Indigenous-centered community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system.”

To mark Earth Day, Soul Fire Farm’s co-director will join us from the farm for a panel discussion to explore these issues and how the audience themselves might work toward a more equitable food system.


Leah Penniman is the co-director and farm manager of Soul Fire Farm. She is the author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land and a 2019 recipient of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award.

Rufus Burnett Jr. is an assistant professor of theology at Fordham University and he has written about the blues, decolonial theology, and the Black American experience. He is the author of Decolonizing Revelation: A Spatial Reading of the Blues.

David Goodwin, assistant director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the online audience.