"Land is Revolution": Unearthing the Transformative Power of Black Gardening in Washington, DC
Haverford College. Independent College Programs
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Black Americans have long been practicing geographies of self-reliance as a method for procuring food and establishing community in Washington, D.C. Because public policy and public health initiatives fall short, food apartheid often undergirds Black narratives of food access in the nation's capital. As Washington, D.C. continues to transition into a post chocolate-city, Black-led urban agriculture remains a pivotal component of equitable access in the regional food system. Drawing on scholarship within Black geographies, public health, and environmental justice, this thesis leverages Black feminist ecological frameworks as a method of exploring the intersections of race (Blackness), placemaking, and health in the DC metropolitan region. Using a mixed-methods approach, I conducted qualitative interviews with young Black food justice advocates coupled with autoethnographic reflections to examine the importance of Black-led urban farming projects. In this paper I argue that Black-led urban agriculture demonstrates (1) land reclamation as a subversive practice, (2) radical political education as a site for collective resilience, and (3) produce production as a means for health equity. This project highlights the ways in which young Black folks in the DC area are reconnecting with farming, navigating racist food systems, and sustaining Black health and Black futures.