Making Spaces Something Like Freedom
Black Feminist Praxis In The Re/Imagining Of A Just Food System
Over the past twenty years, scholarly work on food justice movements has increasingly focused on racism in the food system, documenting how the unequal distribution of food, the systematic disenfranchisement of Black farmers, and the ongoing legacies of residential segregation in planning affect the local food system. In some cases, the work specifically highlights contributions of Black growers and activists (White 2018; Sbicca 2018; Alkon and Guthman 2017). This scholarship has done much to demonstrate the extent to which racial justice is integral to many food justice and sovereignty movements. What has been less explored, however, is the extent to which Black women lead these movements. More specifically, we ask what are the political commitments that compel the way they lead movements, engage the earth and growing, and offer care work within their networks. In this essay, we first explore how Black women use Black feminism as a political and personal framework for their food justice efforts, particularly in terms of their leadership, relationship building, and stewardship of the earth. Additionally, we draw from Christina Sharpe’s notion of an ethic of care that emerges when attempting to make spaces of freedom, in which “care” is defined as “shared risk” (2016:131), to offer theoretical and methodological observations of how Black feminist thought and practice help us to re/see and re/imagine more equitable food systems.
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