Local Food Summit to spotlight issues of equity and racism in food systems

The 12th annual Local Food Summit on March 9 at Washtenaw Community College will bring together diverse local voices to discuss making the local food system more sustainable and equitable.


This year's keynote speaker is Leah Penniman, farmer, activist, and author of "Farming While Black." Penniman is also the co-founder of Soul Fire Farm, a community farm based in Grafton, N.Y., dedicated to ending racism and injustice in the food system.


Penniman and Soul Fire Farm have received numerous distinctions including the Soros Racial Justice Fellowship, a Fulbright fellowship, and the Omega Sustainability Leadership Award.


Kelly Wilson, director of community partners for summit sponsor Taste the Local Difference, says Penniman's work promotes the just, diverse, and sustainable practices the Local Food Summit hopes to advance in Washtenaw County.


"(Leah) provides an opportunity to empower folks of color in that space and give them a seat at the table," Wilson says. "Her work is so vitally important to dismantling the structural racism that exists."


The summit will also offer local food for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.


Community members interested in attending the 2020 Local Food Summit can register here. Tickets are available on a sliding scale to keep the event accessible for those with limited budgets. All tickets offer the same content and meals.


Emily Benda is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. You can contact her at emily@emilybenda.com.