A feature film about the rising generation of young black farmers.
Featuring Leah Penniman, author of “Farming While Black.”
Leah Penniman, a young Black farmer and co-founder of Soul Fire Farm, knows all too well the plight of Black farmers in the United States. From the height of Black-owned farms at 14% in 1910 to less than 2% today, Leah and her Soul Fire Farm cohorts help propel a returning generation of young Black farmers to reclaim their sacred connection to land. All the while, fighting for the passage of landmark legislation: the Justice for Black Farmers Act.
This rising generation of young Black farmers find strength in the deep historical knowledge of African agrarianism — and its potential to save the planet.
From a legacy of stolen lives and labor used to build this country, a returning generation of young Black Farmers reconnect to the land to grow food, build community, and reclaim power. The problem is, of course, land — and the African American experience of enduring racism, red-lining, and discrimination. From a peak of Black Farmer land ownership of 14% in 1910 to less than 2% today, we are at a juncture in United States history.
Leah Penniman, a young Black farmer in upstate NY, knows that owning land is essential. So much so, she wrote a how-to, tell-all book, “Farming While Black”. Hers and other Black farmers’ quest for land through purchase, community trusts, and yes, reparations, is a lesson in resilience, ingenuity and finding solutions in community.
Organizing and building alliances, Leah is part of a coalition to help shape a congressional bill introduced in 2020 — The Justice for Black Farmers Act. The legislation co-sponsored by Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren would create equitable land access, devoting $8 Billion annually for Black farmers to buy farmland. As coalitions build across the country, will it be enough to finally force a reckoning with the United States’ original sin?
Will the broken promises of “40 Acres and a Mule” be replaced with true justice and liberation? A returning generation of young Black Farmers are all in to make it happen.
It is now more important than ever to make “Farming While Black” - to bring awareness to the new generation of vibrant Black Farmers who are thriving and more resilient than ever in pursuit of their self determination. The film is instrumental in spreading awareness and building momentum to engage lawmakers to embed key provisions of the Black Farmers Act in the next Farm Bill, the twice-a-decade omnibus food and farm policy legislation that’s set for renewal in 2023. If included in the policy, the lives of many Black Americans would forever change - healing wounds of the historical injustice. Also, adopting regenerative Afro-Indigenous farming practices can greatly reduce the impacts of climate change, which inordinately affect people of color.
Can Afro-Indigenous regenerative agricultural practices be the solution to climate change?
Leah Penniman, and other BIPOC farmers, know that by changing the industrialized food system to regenerative agriculture can not only save the planet, but also provide liberation for marginalized peoples around the world.
Blain Snipstal, Earth-bound Building, La Via Campesina
Leah and Naima Penniman and their deep connection to nature
Karen Washington inspires Leah Penniman to write her first book, “Farming While Black”
Meet the Team
WRITER & DIRECTOR
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
EDITOR & CAMERA
Charles J. Brown
Be part of “Farming While Black”
To DONATE through our non-profit 501c3, or to see a list of our foundation funders,
please contact Liz@Kontentfilms.com