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Agriculture: Farm to Table

LEAH PENNIMAN, mother of two, is a farmer and food sovereignty activist. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in Rensselaer County, NY in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and “reclaim the ancestral connection to land.” In an address to an organic conference March 2020, Penniman, who has more than 20 years of experience as a soil steward, noted that 85 percent of the agricultural labor is done by Latino workers, but only 2% of farms are managed by that population. The US Department of Labor statistics in 2019 showed that a farm owner/manager was the whitest profession in the U.S., while being a farm worker was the brownest. With the growing Black population interested in plant-based foods, will there be an emergence of agricultural jobs and businesses soon.

Leah Penniman

Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by author, activist, and farmer Leah Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. For more information on Ms. Penniman and her career, visit: For information on careers in agriculture, visit

Leah Penniman was raised in Massachusetts and began farming as a teenager with The Food Project in Boston. Penniman holds an MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University. Li has been farming since 1996 and teaching since 2002. She has worked at the Food Project, Farm School, Many Hands Organic Farm, Youth Grow and with farmers internationally in Ghana, Haiti, and Mexico. Li co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission of ending racism and injustice in the food system and reclaiming the inherent right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system as Black and Brown people.

The work of Penniman and Soul Fire Farm has been recognized by the Soros Racial Justice Fellowship, Fulbright Program, Presidential Award for Science Teaching, NYS Health Emerging Innovator Awards, and Andrew Goodman Foundation, among others. Leah Penniman has also worked as a science teacher at University Park Campus School, Tech Valley High School, and Darrow School and was founding director of the Harriet Tubman Democratic High School. Penniman lives on the farm with her partner, Jonah Vitale-Wolff and their two children, Neshima and Emet Vitale-Penniman.

“Uprooting Racism, Seeding Sovereignty” Keynote and Q&A with Leah Penniman Thursday, March 18, 2021 6:00-7:30PM Free. Go to

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