Color of Food Speaker Collective

The Color of Food is excited to be able to provide a list of food activist speakers who share Natasha’s message but carry their own unique perspectives and experiences from around the country.  If you would like to book one of the speakers listed, please complete the form at the end of this page or contact us directly.

Anita Adalja (Washington, DC) farms through the lens of social work and advocacy. Currently, she is the Director of Farmer Training at the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, a non-profit committed to creating a more sustainable food system in the DC metro area. Anita initially became interested in sustainable agriculture and food equity/access while working as a social worker in Brooklyn, NY. She co-founded Seeds to Feed rooftop farm at a supportive housing residence for formerly homeless, mentally ill adults. From there, she spent a growing season at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) in Santa Cruz, CA, where she earned a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture. Anita went on to manage Common Good City Farm in Washington, DC for two years and most recently was an assistant farmer at One Woman Farm in Gibsonia, PA.

Kirtrina M. Baxter, M.A. (Philadelphia, PA) is a dedicated mother, drummer, food justice activist and community organizer. As an Agro-Africanist, she has a passion for preserving & creating cultural traditions through nutrition, growing food, seedkeeping, and advocacy. Kirtrina is currently the community organizer for the Garden Justice Legal Initiative–a program of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. She works with gardeners around the city, assisting them with gaining access to land and other resources. In this capacity, she also organizes Soil Generation, a diverse body of urban ag advocates & food justice activists who help inform policy and provide community education and support to gardeners in the city.

Eugene Cooke (Atlanta, GA) began working in the urban agriculture movement in Southern California. He was baptized inurban gardening with a full immersion mentorship with Adonijah Miyamura El in Los Angeles, developing Food Forestry at Crenshaw High school. This project transformed an abandoned 3⁄4-acre agriculture center into a subtropical food forest and learning oasis. The apprenticeship deepened Eugene’s awareness of the vital need to restore the soil and encourage tree and vegetable growth in urban areas. After years of working as an independent contractor supporting urban agriculture organizations, Eugene established Grow Where You Are LLC, to create a structure for the collaborative efforts of local food heroes to yield tangible results.

Zachari Curtis (Washington DC) is a community accountable farmer and a local food systems expert working in Washington, DC. Zachari considers their work a mix of sustainable farming and art-based community organizing and has leveraged their experience to forge unlikely but necessary partnerships on the basis of our shared enjoyment of and cultural memory around food. Zachari runs Good Sense Farm & Apiary, a mushroom farm and honey operation fomenting out-of-the-box thinking about the food system, the environment and our responsibility to both. Through their “rewilding” initiative, Zachari introduces people to wild food and the wilderness from whence they come. Zachari also co-founded Community Farming Alliance to develop infrastructure and instigate resource sharing among farmers of color and women farmers in the DC area.

Jasmine Hamilton (Philadelphia, PA) is farmer, educator and organizer who lives in Philadelphia. She is the Garden Outreach Coordinator for the Farm Philly Program of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. Jasmine has been a farmer for over 10 years. She started farming with her grandmother Carolyn, who was a maid during the Jim Crow era in Gary, Indiana. In 2012 she worked for Urban Tree Connection as a Farming Educator. She taught children and adults in underserved communities of color how to grow food, understand food sovereignty, and build self sustainability. She has been an educator for organizations such as Wepac, Y-hep, Mariposa Food Coop, and Centro Nueva, where she developed and facilitated educational programming on food and social justice and anti-racism.

JuJu Harris (Washington DC) was raised in Oakland, California where her interest in the connection between health and food began when her father changed his diet and exercise habits to manage high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and borderline diabetes. Affectionately known as “Nana JuJu”, creating delicious, nutritious meals from few ingredients is her specialty. Juju currently serves as Culinary Educator and SNAP Outreach Coordinator for Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, working from a converted school bus that serves as a mobile farmer’s market.  As a mother who previously received food assistance (WIC and SNAP), she is convinced that healthy food can be easily and inexpensively prepared.

Lauren Nixon (Washington, D.C.) is a Food and Wellness Educator who guides people in cultivating spirit-filled lives through self-care practices and real, sustainable food. Using her experiences in food education, environmental education, urban gardening, and farming, she has developed a passion for creating spaces where people of all ages combine healthy food and self-care practices in order to gain a well-rounded understanding of how to nourish themselves. Lauren’s recent partnerships and collaborations include Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program, Green Grocer DC, Callaloo the Book, FoodCorps, Get HYPE! Philly, The Free Library of Philadelphia Culinary Literacy Center, RhizomeDC, DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative, Good Sense Farm, Capital City Public Charter School Food Justice Summit, and more.

Anan Xola Lololi (Toronto, Canada) is a Food Justice advocate, musician and a vegan. Anan is one of the founders of the Afri-Can FoodBasket (AFB) a non-profit Food Justice & Community Food Security organization that began in 1995 in Toronto. He has been the executive director (at present interim ED) of AFB for the last 20 years promoting CFS and Food Justice in Toronto, North America and the Caribbean. Over the last thirty years Mr. Lololi has done extensive community work in the areas of equity, food justice, community food security, social justice and anti-racism, including training, community development, organizing and running equity/diversity management, community economic development and youth leadership development programs.

Jenga Mwendo (New Orleans, LA) is the founder of the Backyard Gardeners Network, whose mission is to sustain and strengthen the historically self-sufficient and deeply rooted community of the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, LA using our own food growing traditions as a platform to build community, revitalize the neighborhood and preserve our cultural heritage. BGN currently manages two community gardens in the Lower 9th Ward, the Laurentine Ernst Community Garden and the Guerrilla Garden, and the Ernst Garden Resource Center. BGN’s latest project, Lower 9 Growing Strong, enlivens the Guerrilla Garden and with free community workshops, events and activities for all ages that promote health, close-knit community and self-reliance.

Leah Penniman. Leah Penniman is an educator, farmer, writer, and activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY. She is committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system, reconnecting marginalized communities to land, and upholding our responsibility to steward the land the nourishes us. With the Soul Fire team, Leah coordinates a subsidized farm share program that provides life-giving food for families in food apartheid neighborhoods and offers training programs for aspiring Black and Latinx activist-farmers, on-farm restorative justice programs for area teens, and uprooting racism trainings for intersectional activists.

Maurice Small (Durham, NC) an internationally known organic grower, soil alchemist and visionary, has more than 25 years of experience in food systems development, neurship, farmer training, and soil creation. Small’s proactive program development and administration in support of regions that are committed to improving food systems has led to numerous multiple-acre sites of organic production in the Midwest and Eastern regions of the United States. His use of creative strategies for re-imagining and establishing food systems has resulted in highly effective, cutting-edge models that push the boundaries of common practice. Maurice Small is a sought-after speaker, presenter, guest-lecturer, permaculture trainer and consultant who is available to assist communities, organizations, local/state governments and international NGO’s.

Gail Taylor (Washington DC)  is the owner/ operator of Three Part Harmony Farm located on a 2-acre parcel in northeast Washington, DC. Taylor speaks regularly on food and farming issues and has been featured in The Washington Post for her role as a leader in the urban ag movement.Taylor’s background in activism and policy advocacy led to a three-year campaign, “I Want DC to Grow.” This resulted in the passage of the DC Food Security Act of 2014, also known as DCs Farm Bill which sets the stage for 3PH and others to grow commercially in the district. In 2015, she was featured as one of Fifty+ under 50: Innovative leaders transforming metro DC’s food system. She is a member of the Seed Keeper’s Collective, Ecohermanas, and co-founder of Community Farming Alliance.

Karen Washington (New York)  was born and raised in New York City and resided in the Bronx for more than a quarter century. She attended CUNY where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and earned her Master’s in Occupational Biomechanics and Ergonomics. Since 1985, Ms. Washington has worked to improve the quality of life in the Bronx as a community activist.Ms. Washington worked with residents of the Bronx to turn empty lots into accessible green spaces through her work as a community gardener and as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Botanical Garden. She now co-owns and operates Rise and Root Farm in Chester, NY.

Monica White (Madison, WI) earned a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University in Sociology. She is an assistant professor of Environmental Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a joint appointment in the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology and is a former Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. Her publications include, “Sisters of the Soil: Urban Gardening as Resistance Among Black Women in Detroit” and “D-Town Farm: African American Resistance to Food Insecurity and the Transformation of Detroit.” She is currently working on her first book, “Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, 1880-2010″.

Malik Kenyatta Yakini (Detroit, MI) is an activist, musician and educator committed to freedom and justice for African people in particular and humanity in general.  Yakini is a co-founder and the Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates a seven-acre farm in Detroit and is leading the development of the Detroit People’s Food Co-op.  He has an intense interest in contributing to the development of an international food sovereignty movement that embraces Blacks farmers in the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa.  He views the “good food revolution” as part of the larger movement for freedom, justice and equality. He is dedicated to working to identify and alleviate the impact of racism and white privilege on the food system.

The Color of Food Speakers Collective

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