Celebrating the Rich Culinary Traditions of Black Food

Food plays an essential role in preserving cultural identity and promoting health and wellness. In Black communities, food is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage and culinary traditions of the African diaspora. To commemorate Black History Month, we are paying homage to the Black chefs, farmers, and food activists who have made significant contributions to the food industry and continue to shape the way we eat today. Join us in honoring their legacy and learning more about the delicious dishes and sustainable practices that make Black Food a true celebration of diversity and resilience.

This week, we share presentations, podcasts, interviews, and recipes from food activists, community garden visionaries, and leaders in the Bioneers community.

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VIDEO: 911 Our Food System Is Not Working

Many of us have reached a point in our work at which we realize the food system is not working. Leaders keep relying on Band-Aid solutions, autocratic jargon and political hypocrisy to tackle the problems of hunger and poverty. Yet our society’s way of feeding and treating people just isn’t sustainable, especially when the United Nations predicts that by 2050 we will have an additional 2 billion people on this planet, most ending up in urban areas.

Karen Washington, one of the most renowned and influential food activists of our era, shares her wisdom and analysis of why the food system doesn’t need to be fixed but has to be dramatically transformed.

Read more.

VIDEO: Seeding Food Sovereignty: Black and Indigenous Farming Leaders Share Their Strategies

A food sovereignty movement is sprouting on the trail of colonialism and white supremacy, which have unknowingly planted the seeds of their own unmaking. This multigenerational movement is being led by colonized people uprooting global systems of privatized land ownership and environmental degradation. In confronting this system of exploitation, we can transform the underlying relationship of extraction to one rooted in kinship and reciprocity.

In this panel conversation, BIPOC leaders share food sovereignty strategies rooted in cultural knowledge, as well as the rematriation of land and dignity to colonized people who overwhelmingly represent the number of exploited laborers working on stolen land.

Watch here.

Bioneers 2023 Conference Speaker Highlight: Bryant Terry

Bryant Terry, an award-winning chef, educator and author renowned for his activism to create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system is Editor-in-Chief of 4 Color Books (an imprint of Penguin Random House and Ten Speed Press), Co-Principal and Innovation Director of the Zenmi creative studio, and Chef-in-Residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco. Register for the Bioneers 2023 Conference to hear Bryant’s presentation this April.

Learn more.

PODCAST: Liberation, Food Justice, and Stewardship

“Our liberation is embracing our cultural foods. I think that’s a very important part spiritually, physically and otherwise.” The influences of Africans and Black Americans on food and agriculture is rooted in ancestral African knowledge and traditions of shared labor, worker co-ops and botanical polycultures. 

In this podcast episode, we hear from Karen Washington and Bryant Terry on how Black Food culture is weaving the threads of a rich African agricultural heritage with the liberation of economics from an extractive corporate food oligarchy. The results can be health, conviviality, community wealth, and the power of self-determination.

Listen here.

ARTICLE: Urban Farming and the Wonders of Nature In a Food Desert

“Our farm is a sanctuary for life. It’s also a place where people can step out of the pressures of an everyday city life and be able to step into a new world.”

Chanowk and Judith Yisrael are farmers in the suburban South Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento, which has been designated as a food desert. On their half-acre property, they grow 40 fruit trees and raise bees and chickens in what they refer to as a “home grown revolution.”

Read more.

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All life depends on food. It is that commonality that connects diverse species and is the basis for a relationship with our environment. From the microorganisms in the soil food web such as the mycorrhizal fungi that exchange nutrients with plant roots to the woke gourmand at Chez Panisse ordering roasted, pasture chicken and local organic greens, all species depend on the cooperative interactions of the web of life to eat.

Dive into the Food Web with Bioneers and learn more about how a transformed food system can be a source of community wealth, creative culture, and individual health, as well as a way to fulfill our sacred calling as humans for environmental stewardship.

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