Tuesday May 16, 2023

Leah Penniman and Black Earth Wisdom


Leah Penniman

In 2018 Leah Penniman wrote Farming While Black, a beautiful book recounting her experience of building Soul Fire Farm and, also, a guide for other Black and Indigenous people looking to reconnect to the land. Now Leah has compiled a treasure trove of conversations that she's had with other Black people who work in harmony with the Earth. Black Earth Wisdom brings together the voices of these leaders in service of guiding us all to a deeper connection with the land, with it's place in all of our lives, and the necessity of rebuilding the connection to Earth that, for far too many of us, is broken.

This is my second time talking with Leah and I can't overstate how much I learn from her and value both her wisdom and her generosity in sharing what she has learned with all of us. 

In this conversation Leah and I talked about the relationship we can have with the Earth, the racist history of our National Parks, Dr. George Washington Carver, and expanding our time perspective. 

This conversation left me feeling so uplifted and committed to forging a deeper connection to the Earth itself. I think it will do the same for you. Listen, and enjoy.

About Leah:

Leah Penniman is founding Co-Executive Director and Farm Director of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, an Afro-Indigenous farm that works toward food justice and land justice. Her books Farming While Black and Black Earth Wisdom are love songs for the land and her people.

For a written transcript of this conversation click here.

3 Actions:

1) Center the voices and leadership of the people most impacted by environmental injustice.

2) Anytime there's an opportunity to advocate for policies that support Black farmers, such as the Justice for Black Farmers Act, that support farm workers, such as the Fairness for Farmworkers Act, anything that supports rights of nature, land back for Indigenous people, reparations for Black people, we need to be sending those letters, calling, be in the streets to support that type of change.

3) We have a chance to get to know our neighbors, not just the people neighbors, but the amphibians, and the trees and the flowers and the mosses. Get to know their names, spend some quiet time listening, sing them a song of gratitude. And in rekindling that relationship with the Earth, we are almost guaranteed to fall in love.
And when we fall in love, we are almost guaranteed to defend and protect.

Connect with Leah:

Soul Fire Farm

Farming While Black 

Black Earth Wisdom



Harmonica music courtesy of a friend

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