• Kate Ayers

Black Women on Black Food Sovereignty

A list of some takeaways from a FoodShare panel discussion about our food system

I recently watched a panel discussion with speakers Karen Washington, Leticia Deawuo, Deirdre (Dee) Woods and Cheyenne Sundance and moderator Rosie Mensah. These Black women are all leaders in their communities and promote food and racial justice. I learned a lot in this 90-minute webinar and thought I would share some of the notes that I took throughout the discussion on how colonialism, anti-Black racism, capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy are embedded in the food system.

- Black youth associate farming with self-exploitation and slavery

- Young people don't have many role models or mentors in the agricultural sector

- Black people have ancestral ties to food production, they need the appropriate resources (land, capital, equitable food access) to pursue farming as a career

- Black women are rendered invisible and they're work is not recognized

- Black women have have added pressure to to do more and to prove their worth. This extra energy expenditure effects mental and family health. - Food needs to nourish the communities where it is grown

- Health sovereignty = food sovereignty

- We need to remove exploitation and capitalism from the food system

- Black people need better access to land, capital, power, opportunity. To have more control to take care of themselves

- Black people need land ownership, not just land leases/rentals

- Society must recognize the need of a power shift for Black food sovereignty. Black people need to be prioritized and this movement needs to be done in solidarity

- Farm succession planning should include considerations of passing land to racialized folks such as Black and Indigenous people. There needs to be a redistribution of land

- Society should lobby for more ag and green spaces in Black communities

- BIPOC people working in agriculture need to receive livable wages

- Society needs to speak out about gentrification of Black communities

- white people need to educate themselves first and then use their privilege to advance sovereignty, use their positions of power to enact change (and make room for Black leaders), and speak up about injustices and policy changes

This list does not include all points discussed but covers main topics that I thought were profound. All of the speakers did an excellent job of articulating their positions and what they feel needs to be done to create a more just and equitable food system.

I would highly recommend taking the time to watch and learn. The video can be found here.

PC: FG Trade/E+ photo

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