Book Discussion: “The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming” by Natasha Bowens

You are invited to join Desiré Smith and Lexa Dundore, Americorps VISTAs at Dane County UW Extension, in a group reading and discussion around the new book The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming” by Natasha Bowens. Upon becoming a farmer, Ms. Bowens soon recognized the lack of other peers and mentors of color in her surrounding farming circles and communities, but was sure they must be thriving out there somewhere. The author traveled the country to meet with other farmers of color to gather their stories of success, culture, dedication, adversity, and resilience.

The CFS Community of Practice has purchased 7 copies of the book to lend for this reading group, though if others want to purchase your own copy you are also more than welcome to participate (and you may very well want your own copy so these inspirational and grounding stories are available on your bookshelf when you need a lift!). We will mail out the copies to lend as quickly as possible, giving a bit over a month for reading, and will plan to meet for discussion on August 12 from 1-4pm. We will host an in-person discussion in Madison (with refreshments!), but connect via Google Hangout so colleagues throughout the state may participate. Exact Madison location TBD based on needs of participants, though likely either on campus or at Dane County UW Extension’s Fen Oak Dr. office. Participants in the reading group will also be added to a Google Group, where you are encouraged to share questions you have about the reading and also related articles/videos, news stories, local examples, or other examples from your work that tie or speak to the stories highlighted in “The Color of Food.”

While we recommend reading the entire book in preparation, we will focus our discussion around the following sections (about half of the book):

Part 1: Brown Girl Farming p. 2-6
Part 2: Rooted in Rights

  • Intro, p. 8-10
  • Portrait 2: Forced Migration, p. 16-19
  • Portrait 3: Lifeblood of the Land, p. 22-28
  • Portrait 4: Home, Land, p. 30-33
  • Portrait 5: Black Land Loss, 36-41

Part 3: Seeds of Resilience

  • Intro, p. 44-46
  • Portrait 2: Transitioning to Sovereignty, p. 54-58
  • Portrait 4: Surviving as Transplants, p. 66-70
  • Portrait 5: Transforming the South, p. 72-76

Part 4: Preserving Culture and Community

  • Intro, p. 78-80
  • Portrait 1: Cherokee Seed Bank, p. 82-86
  • Portrait 4: Gullah Seedlings, p. 104-109

Part 5: Fierce Farming Women

  • Intro, p. 118-119
  • Portrait 1: Alabama Strong, p. 122-126
  • Portrait 2: American Indian Mothers, p. 128-133
  • Portrait 3: A Farm of Her Own, p. 142-147

Part 6: Generation Rising

  • Intro, p. 156-158
  • Portrait 1: Tierra Negra, p. 160-169
  • Portrait 3: Growing with Energy, p. 184-192
  • Portrait 4: Kitchen Kwento, p. 194-203
  • Portrait 5: Foods Are Our Teachers, p. 206-213

Epilogue and Acknowledgements, p. 215-219

Please keep some notes on your reactions, what strikes you, your questions, and what common themes seem to emerge to aid you in our discussion in August. RSVP to Desiré Smith by Friday, June 26 with the following information if you plan to participate in the reading group: whether you will be purchasing your own book or needing to borrow one from Extension (first come, first served); if borrowing, your mailing address for shipping the book (or willingness to pickup at the Dane UWEX office); for all, your best email address for inclusion in the Google Group.

For more info please contact Desiré Smith or Lexa Dundore

Desiré Smith, Community Food Systems Americorps VISTA
Dane County UW-Extension

Lexa Dundore, Community Food Systems Americorps VISTA
Dane County UW-Extension