Food Justice Resources

The United Nations recognizes the human right to food in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, stating “the right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, has the physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement.”

For your consideration, we offer a selection of writings and presentations at the intersection of food and justice, focussed especially on the empowerment of people of color. To suggest additional resources for this list, please use the form below.


“We Want a Co-op!”
Renaissance Community Co-op in Greensboro, NC

[read more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]DESCRIPTION: Northeast Greensboro residents deserve a high-quality grocery store that serves their needs for good food at an affordable price and dignified jobs that pay a living wage. Together, neighbors from the community, as well as supporters from across Greensboro, are building their very own cooperatively owned grocery store – the Renaissance Community Coop! We want a store that sells real food, is within walking distance for many neighborhood residents, returns surplus money to the community, and contributes to the health and wealth of our community.



Soul Fire Farm: Feeding the Soul, Growing Community
Video of Leah Penniman and family for the Laura Flanders Show, March 15, 2016

[read more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]DESCRIPTION: Leah Penniman tells the story of starting Soul Fire Farm — as part of the movement for black lives — to address food apartheid and create a training program for Black and Latin-x people. She gives a history of the disenfranchisement of Black farmers, the rise of cooperatives, and reclaiming agency in the food system and belonging on the land.



Collective Courage: A Conversation on Cooperation in African-American Communities
Interview of Jessica Gordon Nembhard on The Laura Flanders Show, May 27, 2014

[read more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]DESCRIPTION: “…What role did economic cooperation play in the civil rights movement? As it turns out, a huge one. This forgotten history is the focus of Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s recent book Collective Courage: A History of African-American Economic Thought and Practice….In August 2016, she was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame, standing alongside cooperative movement heroes such as Shirley Sherrod (former LF guest) and Melbah Smith. Gordon Nembhard is Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College, of the City University of New York (CUNY). Gordon Nembhard’s research has had a formidable impact on the worker co-op sector. co-founded the U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops and helped that organization build lasting ties with prominent civil rights and cooperative organizations. She is also an active member of the Grassroots Economic Organizing Newsletter collective….”



Food + Justice = Democracy
Presentation by LaDonna Redmond, TEDxManhattan, March 4, 2013

[read more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]DESCRIPTION: “LaDonna Redmond is the founder and executive director of The Campaign for Food Justice Now.  Previously, she was part of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in 2011 as the Senior Program Associate in Food and Justice. A long-time community activist, she has successfully worked to get Chicago Public Schools to evaluate junk food, launched urban agriculture projects, started a community grocery store, and worked on federal farm policy to expand access to healthy food in low-income communities. In 2009, she was one of 25 citizen and business leaders named a Responsibility Pioneer by Time Magazine. In 2007, she was awarded a Green For All Fellowship. LaDonna was also a 2003-2005 IATP Food and Society Fellow. Redmond is a frequently invited speaker, and currently hosts the weekly Monday evening radio program “It’s Your Health” on 89.9 KMOJ, The People’s Station. LaDonna attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.”



Fostering a Racially Just Food System: An Up & Coming Food Co-op Conference Video
Presentation by Malik Yakini at the Up & Coming Conference, August 22, 2016

[read more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]DESCRIPTION: “Malik Kenyatta Yakini is a founder and the Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN).  DBCFSN operates a seven-acre urban farm and is spearheading the opening of a co-op grocery store in Detroit’s North End. Yakini views the “good food revolution” as part of the larger movement for freedom, justice, and equality. He has an intense interest in contributing to the development of an international food sovereignty movement that embraces Black communities in the Americas, the Caribbean, and Africa.”



Food Security | The Lexicon of Sustainability
PBS Food, June 11, 2014

[read more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]DESCRIPTION: “The politics and culture of food are often expressed in terms of food security and food sovereignty. These two terms are often used interchangeably, even though they mean different things. Erika Allen of Chicago’s Grower Power explains that food security considers whether a person knows where his or her next meal is coming from, while food sovereignty defends a community’s right to decide how they are fed.”



The Power of Ideas & The Idea of Power
Presentation by Ed Whitfield, Fund for Democratic Communities, January 8, 2016

[read more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]DESCRIPTION: “This is the first in a series of videos recorded during the fall of 2015 at a grantee gathering held by the Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC) in Greensboro NC. The theme of the gathering was Big Ideas That Guide Our Work. This video is Ed Whitfield, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Director of F4DC, introducing the gathering and talking on “The Power of Ideas and the Idea of Power. Subsequent videos will be released as they are completed with a presentation by Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Aaron Tanaka, Marnie Thompson, Brendan Martin, Melissa Hoover and Umi Selah. We hope you find these videos informative, challenging, inspiring and useful.”



Growing community through a food co-op
Presentation by Michelle Lopez-Dohrn, TEDxOjai, October 22, 2013

[read more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]DESCRIPTION: Michelle Lopez-Dohrn speaks about creating a food co-op to help promote progressive change in food, community, economy, environment and as a model for human cooperation.




  • Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
    By Leah Penniman, (Chelsea Green Publishing; Release Date: November 8, 2018)

Author’s Website

FROM THE FORWARD: “Farming While Black teaches us the fundamental acts of growing food and growing community.”—Karen Washington

DESCRIPTION from Chelsea Green Publishing: “‘Revolution is based on land. Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality.’—Malcolm X’Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to their decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than 2 percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land.  Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems. Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by author, activist, and farmer Leah Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. Through innovative programs such as the Black-Latinx Farmers Immersion, a sliding-scale farmshare CSA, and Youth Food Justice leadership training, Penniman is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid.  And now, with Farming While Black, Penniman extends that work by offering the first comprehensive manual for African-heritage people ready to reclaim their rightful place of dignified agency in the food system. This one-of-a-kind guide provides readers with a concise “how-to” for all aspects of small-scale farming….Throughout, Penniman includes “Uplift” sidebars to elevate the wisdom of the African Diasporic farmers and activists whose work informs the techniques described, as well as an honest and transparent look at the real work being done at Soul Fire Farm every day. ‘Stewarding our own land, growing our own food, educating our own youth, participating in our own healthcare and justice systems,’ Penniman writes, ‘this is the source of real power and dignity.’”

  • Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice
    By Jessica Gordon Nembhard (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014)

Publisher Website

Grassroots Economic Organizing: Book Reviews and Video

Preview “Collective Courage” in Google Books

Google Scholar

DESCRIPTION: “In Collective Courage, Jessica Gordon Nembhard chronicles African American cooperative business ownership and its place in the movements for Black civil rights and economic equality. Not since W. E. B. Du Bois’s 1907 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans has there been a full-length, nationwide study of African American cooperatives. Collective Courage extends that story into the twenty-first century….To tell the story, Gordon Nembhard uses a variety of newspapers, period magazines, and journals; co-ops’ articles of incorporation, minutes from annual meetings, newsletters, budgets, and income statements; and scholarly books, memoirs, and biographies. These sources reveal the achievements and challenges of Black co-ops, collective economic action, and social entrepreneurship. Gordon Nembhard finds that African Americans, as well as other people of color and low-income people, have benefited greatly from cooperative ownership and democratic economic participation throughout the nation’s history.

  • Everyone Welcome? Personal narratives about race and food co-ops
    By Patricia Cumbie and Jade Barker (CDS Consulting Co-op, 2017)

Publisher Website (includes PDF download, study guide, and discussion questions)

DESCRIPTION: “We believe that now is a critical time to engage our cooperative community in important conversations about racism and oppression. Everyone Welcome? Personal Narratives about Race and Food Co-ops presents a variety of perspectives on what can be done to make food co-ops more racially inclusive. Fifteen co-operators from a variety of backgrounds — class, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation — talk about their introduction to co-ops and respond to two questions: how did food co-ops become so white and what can be done to make food co-ops more racially inclusive?  We think storytelling is an excellent medium for exploring these themes, and we invite you to use these narratives as a springboard for your own discussions about racial issues affecting your co-op and your community.”
See more resources on diversity and inclusion in the CDS Consulting Co-op Library

Some Articles

  • For Asian Immigrants, Cooperatives Came From the Home Country
    By Yvonne Yen Liu (Yes! Magazine, May 22, 2018)
  • 4 Not-So-Easy Ways to Dismantle Racism in the Food System
    By Leah Penniman (Yes! Magazine, April 27, 2017)
  • Concerning the unbearable whiteness of urban farming
    By Antonio Roman-Alcalá (Food Systems Journal, San Francisco, California)
  • Decolonizing food justice: Naming, resisting, and researching colonizing forces in the movement.
    By Bradley, K., & Herrera, H.  (Antipode, 48(1), 97–114, 2016)
  • Food justice: What’s race got to do with it?
    By Billings, D., & Cabbil, L. (Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts, 5(1), 103–112, 2011)
  • Injustice on our plates: Immigrant women in the U.S. food industry.
    By Bauer, M., & Ramirez, M. (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2010)

A Network and A Training Site


  • Kent Alexander — social justice workshop facilitator [LinkedIn]
  • Dr. Amanda Kemp — racial justice and mindfulness mentor []

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Related Resources

Understanding White Fragility with Dr. Robin DiAngelo
Interviewed by Philippe SHOCK Matthews, May 26, 2016

[read more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]DESCRIPTION: “White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to what is referred by Dr. Robin DiAngelo as White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.”