Food justice activist Leah Penniman to speak on racism and sovereignty in the food system at URI Dec. 6

Part of University’s fall Honors Colloquium

KINGSTON, R.I. – Nov. 17, 2022 – Leah Penniman, a Black Kreyol farmer, author and food justice activist, will present virtually at the 2022 University of Rhode Island Honors Colloquium, Tuesday, Dec. 6, on “Uprooting Racism and Seeding Sovereignty in the Food System.”

Penniman is co-director and farm manager of Soul Fire Farm in New York. A self-described soil nerd, Penniman co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2010 with the mission to “end racism in the food system and reclaim our ancestral connection to the land.” As Soul Fire Farm’s co-executive director and farm director, she leads a team that facilitates food sovereignty programs including farmer training for Black and Brown people, domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system, and a subsidized farm food distribution program for communities living under food apartheid (lack of food access in communities).

Penniman’s talk will be delivered virtually (only) as part of the fall Honors Colloquium, “Just Good Food,” which will be streamed live (video links are available the day of each event at the link above).

A farmer since 1996, she trained domestically at Many Hands Organic Farm and Farm School (Barre, Massachusetts) and abroad with farmers in Ghana, Haiti and Mexico. She holds a master’s in science education and a B.A. in environmental science and international development from Clark University and taught high school biology and environmental science for 17 years. Her work and that of Soul Fire Farm has been recognized by the Fulbright Program and with a Soros Racial Justice Fellowship and James Beard Leadership Award, among others. Penniman has also authored Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land and the upcoming Black Earth Wisdom: Soulful Conversations with Black Environmentalists, which she describes as “love songs for the land and her people.”

Follow Penniman’s work at @soulfirefarm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The URI Honors Colloquium is the University’s premier lecture series. Hosted by the University’s Honors Program, this university-wide educational forum is free and open to the public. This year’s lecture series has brought several experts to URI to examine local and global food systems, examining ways to create equitable, sustainable and resilient food systems. One more speaker remains on this fall’s colloquium schedule: Ricardo Salvador (Dec. 13), Union of Concerned Scientists. Learn more about the fall colloquium.