As a creative educator, regenerative farmer, writer and activist, Leah Penniman is an exceptional leader for food justice.  She is best known for her work at Soul Fire Farm … an organic family farm committed to ‘the dismantling of oppressive structures that misguide our food system.’

~ Tracy Frisch, journalist

Born to Reverend Dr. Adele Smith Penniman, Leah Penniman was reared in Ashburnham, Massachusetts.  The oldest of three children, she is of Black Kreyol ethnicity.  After her mother, who is Black, and her father, who is White, separated, she and her siblings were co-parented.  With her father, they lived in rural Massachusetts; there, Leah connected strongly with nature. 

Throughout her youth, Leah’s environment had little cultural diversity. In “Farming While Black: How 1 Mother is Fighting to End Racism in the Food System” Food article by Emi Boscamp at Today website, Leah Penniman recalled her family often being the only one of color.  In her reflection, she shared that they were often taunted and even bullied, which included violence and physical assault.  Penniman provided insight to how she and her two siblings, Allen and Naima, found healing .  Sharing Penniman’s sentiment, Boscamp wrote, “‘I would literally go and hold onto grandmother pine and cry my tears and feel a sense of belonging and restoration from my connection with the land.’”

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