Diversifying the Food Movement

A new campaign elevates the voices of minority groups in food and farming activism.

A Boston urban farmer harvests beets for a nearby farmer's market. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Megan is a sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, she likes writing about food almost as much as eating it.

In some circles, eating local, organic produce and demanding healthier school lunches are seen as decidedly yuppie white pastimes. But the notion that monied white people are single-handedly fighting the good food fight is a misleading one, and a new nonprofit initiative is preparing to prove it.

The Color of Food, which officially launched late last week, is elevating the voices of Asian, black, Latino and Native American farmers and communities into a public discourse on food justice and nutrition that has heretofore lacked their input.

The initiative’s core goal is the development of an online directory and map of worldwide farmers, urban growers, food activists and other food-related initiatives led by racial minorities.

Founder Natasha Bowens, a 28-year-old biracial food activist who also runs a blog on race, farming and food justice, conceived the idea for The Color of Food nine months ago. She believes her media-savvy generation has the power to make a difference.

“[Y]outh of color have to understand, break and then speak out on the stigmas that communities of color carry in regards to agriculture; from black field slave images to Latino migrant farm labor correlations,” she says on her blog, Brown. Girl. Farming. “We have to repaint those pictures and show that farming can be empowering and give us sovereignty if we fight for it.”

Racial minorities are the most impacted communities on the issue of food security, land rights and health, Bowens says; the directory will serve as a model of their role in the food movement.

Taking the idea a step further, The Color of Food is also partnering with Bessai Transmedia to create multimedia documentary projects on farmers of color across America.

“These voices must be heard or we will not have a truly just food revolution,” Bowen says.

Add your farm, business, or organization to the directory.

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