The Color of Food Speakers Collective

The Color of Food was inspired by the existing work of farmers and food activists of color across the country. This collective of speakers features some of these amazing folks who focus on addressing racial disparities in the food movement, strengthening community work through food and storytelling and advocating for food sovereignty in communities of color. Together, we strive to teach that the food and farm movement is about more than buying local and protecting our soil. It is about preserving culture, building community, digging deep into equity and justice and honoring those who have come before us. We believe through our collective efforts to spread this message we can repaint the picture of food and agriculture, inspire new brothers and sisters to connect with the land, and preserve and share the important stories of people of color in agriculture.

Check out this growing list of incredible speakers and fill out the form below to request a speaker for your next event. 

Leah Penniman(Upstate NY) is an educator, farmer, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY. She is committed to dismantling the oppressive structures that misguide our food system, reconnecting marginalized communities to land, and upholding our responsibility to steward the land the nourishes us.

As a core member of the Freedom Food Alliance, Leah cultivates life-giving food for incarcerated people and their loved ones. She also runs an on-farm restorative justice program. Learn More

kb2-2 Kirtrina M. Baxter, M.A. (Philidelphia) 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. Learn More.
559200_10100174250866674_734504371_n 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. Learn More.

Malik Kenyatta Yakini (Detroit) 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.  DBCFSN also spearheaded efforts to establish the Detroit Food Policy Council, which Yakini chaired from December 2009 – May 2012.   He served as a member of the Michigan Food Policy Council from 2008 – 2010. Learn More

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. Learn More.

Karen-Washington-Farmer-855x1024Karen Washington, (Upstate NY) was born and raised in New York City and has resided in the Bronx for more than a quarter century. She attended Hunter College, CUNY where she graduated Magna Cum Laude, with her Bachelor’s in Health Sciences. She then attended New York University where she earned her Master’s Degree in Occupational Biomechanics and Ergonomics. Since 1985, Ms. Washington has worked to improve the quality of life in the Bronx as a community activist. Learn More.

Gail Taylor (Washington DC) owner/ operator of Three Part Harmony Farm, a vegetable, fruit, herb, cut-flower operation and nursery located in Washington, DC. A long-time resident of the District, Taylor has worked as an organizer and social justice activist. She’s been farming organically for 10 years and holds professional memberships in several organizations related to sustainable agriculture, afro-ecology, seed keeping, empowering women entrepreneurs and urban farming. Learn More

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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. Her research engages communities of color and grassroots organizations that are involved in the development of sustainable community food systems as a strategy to respond to issues of hunger and food inaccessibility. Learn More

Eugene Cooke (Atlanta) began working in the urban agriculture movement in Southern California. He was baptized in urban 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. Learn More

Jenga Mwendo (New Orleans) 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 using their own food growing traditions as a platform to build community, revitalize the neighborhood and preserve cultural heritage. Mwendo is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Sustainable Real Estate Development at Tulane. Learn More

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Lauren Nixon is a Washington, D.C. based 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 to gain an understanding of how to nourish themselves. Learn More

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Anita Adalja (Washington, DC) – Anita Adalja 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. Learn More.

Dara Cooper (Philadelphia) is a national organizer with the National Black Food and Justice Alliance, an alliance of Black led organizations working towards national Black food and land justice. She is also an organizer with the HEAL (Health Environment Agriculture and Labor) Food Alliance and has just completed a southern tour interviewing Black farmers, co-ops and food hubs throughout the south with the Center for Social Inclusion. Learn More
Anan Xola Lololi 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. Learn More.
Chris Bradshaw (Washington DC) An expert in bringing social innovation, youth development and entrepreneurship along with urban farming techniques to underrepresented communities, Chris honed his organizing and entrepreneurial skills at Howard University while studying political science and business, developing a human rights centered world view as area coordinator for Amnesty International. Learn More.

Maurice Small  Internationally known organic grower, soil alchemist and visionary, has more than 25 years of experience in food systems development, youth entrepreneurship and 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. Learn More


Jasmine Hamilton  (Philadelphia) 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. 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, social justice and anti-racism. Learn More.

Beatriz Beckford is a national organizer and human rights activist who trains grassroots groups domestically and internationally to organize intersectionally with a racial justice analysis on social issues. Beatriz supports the development of campaigns lead by grassroots leaders on the front lines of the struggle for equity and social justice. Learn More.
Natasha Bowens is author of The Color of Food, and is a grower and activist who focuses on building empowerment and community through food and storytelling. Natasha spent the past five years gathering stories and portraits of farmers and food activists from Black, Latina, Asian and Native communities across the country – stories that invite us to dig deep into race, equity, culture and community. Natasha started The Color of Food in 2010 after exploring race and agriculture on her blog Brown.Girl.Farming. and in a column for Grist magazine. Her work has now garnered national attention such as The Atlantic, Mother Earth News, VICE, YES! Magazine and NPR. She has shared her work across the country from Purdue, Tuskegee and Harvard to the National Organic Farming Association and the USDA. She currently resides in Western Maryland with her husband where she coordinates community gardens and gardening and culinary programs in public housing communities. Check out Natasha’s past andupcoming speaking events here.

To inquire about a speaker in the collective, please complete the form below with as much detail as possible and we will get back to you shortly!

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