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The Color of Food

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents Table of Contents:* Prologue: Sowing Seeds for the RoadThe author speaks to us from the road during her journey interviewing and photographing farmers of color across the country. She introduces some of her personal story and motivation to get write the book while summarizing what we will find in its pages.* Section 1: Brown Girl FarmingWe start with the author in the fields of West Virginia as she reflects on her own story and motivations for farming. She explores her identity as a woman of color in the food and agriculture movement and struggles with the exclusivity and misrepresentation of the agrarian story for people of color. We begin to understand her personal motivation for digging deeper into the stories of farmers of color. We learn that while she acknowledges the stories of inequity and struggle, she feels compelled to unearth the seldom told stories of resilience, culture and community. (Natasha's journey unfolds in the following sections where she narrates her travels and guides us through the stories of the farmers and food activists she interviews - highlighting the various elements that speak to the identity of farmers of color as well as issues that impact them. Each section includes an introduction to its theme or main topic followed by titled portraits introducing each farmer and their stories as well as the author's narrations. Natasha's narrative and the farmers' words are woven with supporting historical and statistical information. Photographs of the farmers and theme-relevant quotes open each portrait.)* Section 2: Rooted in RightsThe section opens with Natasha's brief input on land rights and their impact on communities of color over history. Natasha then introduces us to seven stories that explore historic and current land ownership, land loss and resource rights for farmers such as: African American farmers in the South, Mexican American farmers on the border, Navajo farmers in the Southwest, Japanese farmers out West, Urban farmers in L.A. and Native fishing communities in Oregon. Their stories speak to freedom, loss, triumph, determination and the inequality of power. Specific issues raised include: NAFTA's impact on migrant farmers in Texas, water depletion in Arizona, GMO salmon in the Pacific, the history of sharecropping and WWII internment camps, urban development's impact on urban farming and the Pigford v USDA discrimination lawsuit. * Land is Freedom * Forced Migration* Lifeblood of the Land* Home, Land* Urban Land Loss* Denied, Foreclosed* Saving Salmon* Section 3 : Seeds of ResilienceIn this section Natasha explores the power of resilience over obstacles for farmers of color and introduces us to seven stories that speak to success and resilience through innovation, creating strong networks or cooperatives, hard work and the will to survive. We hear from farmers such as Muslim American farmers in Louisiana, African American organic farmers across the South, Hmong farmers in California and Latino farmers in Oregon and New Mexico. Their stories touch on issues such as: surviving Hurricane Katrina and starting a farm business, the growing immigrant farming population, transitioning farmworkers to new and beginning farmers, transitioning conventional farmers to organic, cooperative farming, innovative marketing techniques and growing a successful agricultural business. * Katrina to Chickens* Transforming the South* Bucking Dependence* Cooperative Power* Supporting Transplants* Sweet Bite of Success* Transitioning to Sovereignty* Section 4: Preserving Culture & CommunityNatasha leads us through some cultural contributions to food and agriculture and explores how culture and the power of a united community can have a significant impact on holistically healthy communities. She introduces us to seven stories of farmers and food activists who are working to preserve culture and build community around food and farming in places such as: the deserts and mountains of the Southwest, the Cherokee nation of Appalachia, the Gullah Islands of the Carolinas, the village of the American Oyotunji, the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Ethiopian communities of the West coast and the Asian-influenced International District of Seattle. Their stories speak to community empowerment, cultural revival and cultural preservation through traditional foodways.* Cherokee Seed Bank* Gullah Seedlings* Teff to Table* Growing Farmers* Preserving Asia in the City* Bringing Life Back* Oyotunji Farm* Section 5: Fierce Farming WomenThis section is Natasha's tribute to women in agriculture who are feeding, healing and empowering their communities worldwide. We are introduced to seven strong women and their stories of farming alone, starting a farm for the health of their children, running successful farm and flower businesses, fighting for the health of their communities, farming as retired teachers and educating their communities on traditional foodways and cooking. We travel to meet Black, Latina, Native, Laotian and Filipina women from the deep South to the West coast. Their stories speak to sisterhood, motherhood and the incredible power of women.* Alabama Strong* Sulina's Strawberries* Farm of Her Own* American Indian Mothers* Sisters* Wild Healer* Kitchen Kwento* Section 6: Generation RisingIn this section Natasha explores the stories of young farmers of color and the youth-led urban food movement. She introduces us to seven young farmers and food activists whose stories lead us through issues such as: obstacles for young farmers like accessing land and capital, the aging of the farmer population, the need for mentorship/eldership, the geographical and generational divide and food movement disparities for communities of color. Their stories give us keen insight into the movement and highlight innovative solutions and ideas which give us hope for the future. Follow the stories as we travel through Brooklyn, Durham, El Paso, Las Cruces, Oakland, Atlanta and Austin. * A Farm Grows in Brooklyn* Tierra Negra* Grow Where You Are* Namu Gaji* Beyond Borders* The People's Market* Educating a Movement* Section 7: Coming HomeWe end the journey with the author returning home and reflecting on all of the stories that were shared, her personal experiences with spending time with the farmers and the history, culture and knowledge she has absorbed. We explore her conclusions, her hopes for the future and the closure of her personal quest. She highlights the pertinent issues that came out of the farmers stories both for her personally and on a societal level. Such as the significance of human relationships and understanding, feeling rooted in land, culture and identity, preserving history, addressing racism and discrimination in the food system and opening our eyes to the the bigger picture of agriculture. She encourages readers to think about these issues and includes a call to action for those invested in changing the system.* Epilogue: We Are Here, TooThis section is a collage of portraits and snapshots with brief captions. This section serves as a "shout out" space for farmers and activists not featured in the main sections.* Acknowledgements* AppendicesThis section will also include a "how to" on finding out more information on specific issues, activist and movement building resources and ways to stay connected online with The Color of Food and the broader movement of farmers and food activists of color.

Promotional Information

10000 copy print runCo-op availableGalley mailing to trade publicationsNational advertising Mother Earth News, Urban Farm, Hobby Farm HomeNational print campaign: Mother Earth News, Huffington Post Food, Alternet, Grist, Hobby Farm, Acres USA, Permaculture Activist, Urban Farm, Yes! Magazine, UTNEOnline/social media campaign: Author's blog:, Author's website:; Greenhorns blog, Colorlines; FarmHer; Slow Food USAAuthor Youtube video for Indigogo campaign for photographic documentary Ebook Marketing Plans: Simultaneous ebook release and promotionExcerpts in: O Magazine, Ebony, UTNE, Intelligent Optimist, Urban Farm, Acres USAAuthor will attend several conferences including: Annual Food Book Fair, NYC, Spring 2015, Mother Earth News Fairs, Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference 2015, NFOT Annual Conference, National Young Farmers Conference. National Food Day eventsElectronic galley on EdelweissEbook promotion with Kobo and Apple as appropriate

About the Author

Natasha Bowens is an author, farmer, and political activist whose advocacy focuses on food sovereignty and social issues. As a young biracial woman in today's agricultural movement , she is dedicated to honoring, preserving and amplifying the stories of Black, Native, Asian and Latina farmers and food activists. Her multimedia project The Color of Food evolved from her work exploring the intersection of race and agriculture for Grist magazine, and from her blog Brown.Girl.Farming, where she writes about issues related to racial inequality, food sovereignty, and resilience. Natasha has interviewed and photographed over 65 North American farmers of color; her work has garnered her national media attention, and she has been featured on CNN, The Atlantic, and Colorlines.


Shelia Trask, Publishers' Weekly, Summer 2015 Bowens's deep political understanding is obvious throughout her book; she's knowledgeable about the history of oppression that affects farmers of color today and can explain the effects of political pacts like NAFTA on Mexican farmers, all while delivering pertinent statistics that illustrate her points. At heart, though, this is a book about the people themselves. What a book! Dive into the stories and photographs Natasha Bowens shares in these pages and you come up for air with a profound appreciation for the diversity of people planting the seeds and harvesting the foods to keep alive cultural traditions and nourish communities around the country. Anyone who eats should read this book: You will come to the table with new appreciation for the intersections between race and food that so often go unsaid and undocumented. Kudos to Bowens for creating this powerful and important book. --s; Anna Lapp , author, Diet for a Hot Planet and Hope's Edge Natasha Bowens, through her compelling stories and powerful images of a rainbow of farmers, reminds us that the industrialization of our food system and the oppression of our people -- two sides of the same coin -- will, if not confronted, sow the seeds of our own destruction. --s; Mark Winne, author, Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty The Color of Food captures the heart and souls of farmers of color... farmers that are frequently forgotten as the stories of agriculture in our country are told. Through the lens of a camera we step into the cultural history of our foods and the beautiful and proud people that grow them. --s; Cynthia Hayes, executive director, Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network True to her ancestral ties, Natasha brings forth the hope of a new generation of young people of color fixed on recapturing the energy, history and tradition of farming. The power of storytelling is etched in each farmer's tale of courage and resiliency as they look at farming, not as oppressive, but as a vibrant celebration of who they are. The Color of Food makes the ancestors rise up in triumph! --s; Karen Washington, farmer, activist, and cofounder, Black Urban Growers It is impossible to understand food in America without digging deeply into "race," class and culture. People's perceptions are their realities, and The Color of Food contributes to changing our reality by changing our perception of the hands, hearts and faces in the food movement. ---Malik Yakini, executive director, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network Natasha Bowens brings us two critical reminders: the potential and pitfalls of "a movement" in any singular form; and the importance of vision and determination in doing truly groundbreaking research. The Color of Food represents the best kind of research-inspired and independent, a project of deep listening and unbounded sharing. Our task is to cultivate the questions she scatters, in a rich and colorful light. --s; Philip Ackerman-Leist, author, Rebuilding the Foodshed and director of the Masters in Sustainable Food Systems, Green Mountain College The food movement has woken the world to joy of food, but the beauty of the people who grow it is too often hidden. That's why Brown Girl Farming is so gorgeous. This is a book that celebrates the food movement leaders to whom I've been honored to be able to turn for wisdom. To read Natasha Bowen's journey through North America is to draw from the rich, exquisite and too often hidden work of people of color in reinventing the modern food system. From First Nation to immigration, there isn't a topic on which Bowen's curiosity doesn't latch, nor her camera capture. It's a must-share book for anyone who holds hope in their hearts about the future of food. --s;Raj Patel, Author of Stuffed and Starved

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