We are continuing our year's theme of Environmental Justice and this quarter's sub-theme will be Food Justice. Our programming this quarter will focus on traditional Western farming practices, their connection to the exploitation of people and land, and how we begin to heal from that exploitation.
The organization FoodPrint defines food justice as "a holistic and structural view of the food system that sees healthy food as a human right and addresses structural barriers to that right . . . A food justice lens examines questions of access to healthy, nutritious, culturally appropriate food, as well as: ownership and control of land, credit, knowledge, technology and other resources; the constituent labor of food production; what kind of food traditions are valued; how colonialism has affected the food system's development and more."
This video effectively illustrates what food justice really means. Watch and learn!
The reading for this quarter is the essay "Black Gold" by Leah Penniman. We also provide a video of a spoken word poem also named "Black Gold" by Leah Penniman's sister and business partner Naima Penniman; along with a podcast episode "Soil: The Dirty Climate Solution," from the "How to Save a Planet" podcast. Along with discussion questions, we have provided a series of activities aimed at encouraging meditation on our individual relationships with the soil and the land. These discussion questions can be found on our Canvas course, to engage with on your own time.
In addition to our asynchronous programming over Canvas, Community Reads will also be hosting a panel of local farmers, community activists, and campus representatives to talk about different aspects of food justice and how it relates to their work. This panel will be held on Wednesday, May 5 from 2 - 3:30pm. More details about the event, panelists, and the event recording can be at the event webpage!
We also encourage participation in this quarter's Climate Dialog and other Earth Week events hosted by the UW Bothell and Cascadia College Sustainability Offices. Food production will be a main theme of the Climate Dialog and you may find elements of this quarter's material in the other lists as well. The Climate Dialog Online Event will be Wednesday, April 21st, at 1:00pm - 3:00pm. Registration Link.
We look forward to your participation this quarter in whatever capacity you can manage. In the meantime, we're thinking about you and hoping you're staying healthy and safe.
- The Community Reads Team, 2020-2021
Visit our Canvas Course to participate in discussions and activities.
- Course Enrollment required to access discussion boards and additional activities -
Inspired by this quarter's reading on food justice, we have gathered a panel of on and off campus community farmers and activists to talk about their work and experiences with farming and food justice.
Ray Williams from the Black Farmers Collective
Emma Shorr from Rising Sign Farm
Noël Hutton from Community Alliance for Global Justice
Faye Farreles & Ree Robson from the UWB/CC Health and Wellness Resource Center (HaWRC)
Visit our event webpage for more details including the event recording!
If you're curious about the book in which our essay selection is featured, All We Can Save, borrowing and purchasing options are below.
Borrow from your public library where applicable.
Purchase a copy
"We Are Each Other's Harvest" Downloadable Audiobook from Seattle Public Library (limited copies available)
The essay, Black Gold, appears in the anthology, All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. The e-book is available through UW Libraries.
Johnson, A., & Wilkinson, Katharine Keeble. (2020). All we can save : Truth, courage, and solutions for the climate crisis. New York: One World.
In “Black Gold,” Leah Penniman discusses the way that Western colonial farming is linked to exploitation - of the land and its workers alike - and how this exploitation has contributed to the environmental crisis and the trauma of marginalized (particularly Black and Indigenous) communities. She describes different farms’ efforts to change the relationship of people to land and work towards healing the trauma these practices have caused, with a particular focus on the programs at her farm, Soul Fire Farm.
“Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol farmer, author, and food justice activist who founded Soul Fire Farm with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim our ancestral connection to land.” (All We Can Save, 418)
“Soul Fire Farm is an Afro-Indigenous centered community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system. We raise and distribute life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of our ancestors, we work to reclaim our collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system. We bring diverse communities together on this healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice. We are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.” (from Soul Fire Farm website)
Naima Penniman, program director of Soul Fire Farm, wrote the poem “Black Gold” as a dedication to Leah Penniman’s book Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation on Land. Watch her perform this poem, both a powerful acknowledgement of the cruelties and exploitation in U.S. farming history and an homage to the people who were enslaved and abused - and to those who survive and thrive today.
From the podcast How to Save a Planet. Learn more about the farming systems used in Soul Fire Farm, or the soil science and environmental impacts, we recommend this podcast episode from “How to Save a Planet” with Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Alex Blumberg: “Soil: The Dirty Climate Solution.” Johnson and Blumberg interview Leah Penniman and a pair of farmers in Minnesota about their regenerative agriculture practices and how these practices could transform farming.
UW Bothell / Cascadia College
Sustainable Food Systems talk on climate change and the effects in our state. Join experts on climate change and food in the area to discuss climate change, food choice, and sustainable agriculture.
Date/Time: Wednesday, April 21, 1:00 - 3:00pm
Location: Zoom link provided upon registration
Check out an interview with a few Community Reads (CR) committee members as they chat with the Sustainability team at UWB/CC Campus. The conversation covers Spring quarter food justice programming, a little history of the program, our climate justice zine, and why you should join the conversation. Thanks, Stephan and Alexa, for interviewing us and collaborating with us this quarter. (the episode also includes info about Earth Week plans for the UWB/CC Campus and beyond).
Click play above or visit this interview's podcast website. 35 min.
Our Canvas course is designed to facilitate engagement with one another and the material. We are hoping that instructors, supervisors, and staff can incorporate this course, or portions of this course, into their classes, programs, and departments. To take part in discussion spaces and contribute to our Climate Justice Zine, students, faculty, and staff may enroll in the course (instructions found on our Canvas home page).
Integrate these Canvas materials into your own work!
How can staff participate individually or as part of a departmental project?
Visit our For Faculty & Staff page for more information.
If you have another idea for how to use this material, or have questions on how to implement any of the ideas above, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
The Kodiak Cave is the food resource center located at LB2-006 on the Cascadia College campus that directly serves the student body of Cascadia College. Opened in November 2018, the mission of the Kodiak Cave is to end hunger on our campus through nourishing meals and providing education and resources to our community. We currently operate as a "choice pantry," meaning guests will be able to pick the food that best meets their needs. We believe this gives our guests dignity and reduces food waste.
Tuesday: 10:00am - 3:00pm - Curbside Pickup Only
Thursday: Delivery Only
Visit their website for more details.
The Husky Food Pantries may be accessed by any UW Bothell student who is facing food insecurity.
Locations: UWB Student Diversity Center (currently closed while campus operations are remote), and the Husky Village Community Center (for student residents only).
Curbside Pickup at the Activities & Recreation Center (ARC): the Husky Pantry is currently operating on a curbside pickup model out of the ARC once a week, as well as a location in Husky Village for Husky Village residents, 206-245-5536.
ARC Pickup Hours Spring Quarter: every Tuesday, from 10:30am-1:00pm
Contact: The Health and Wellness Center, firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit their website for more details and for information about off-campus food resources.
The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, and activities. Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made 10 business days prior to the event to the Community Reads Team. Or, email contact of all members are on the left hand menu of this website.