Natasha Bowens describes herself as a “young, brown female who likes to farm.” And while she didn’t grow up doing it, she’s now dedicated her career to creating a network of other people of color in farming and food justice.
Like many people Bowens became an activist in college, and focused her early career working on the 2008 elections, and on health policy for the Center for American Progress. Along this path she began connecting the dots between politics, social justice, the environment, health and food and was inspired to start farming. But the more she got involved, the more she began to notice a lack of people of color heading farming or food justice initiatives.
“I saw this disparity. I thought food justice movements were being led by communities of color. They were leading movements on the ground but they were then being taken over,” she says. “There are organizations that are supposedly supporting communities of color, but their funding is not going to communities of color.”
In 2010 she began a blog titled Brown.Girl.Farming, and soon after started working on The Color of Food, a multimedia project that gathers stories of people of color leading farming and food justice initiatives in their hometowns. Bowens traveled across the country, doing interviews and taking photographs, and is set to publish a book in the spring. Based on what she learned in her travels she also developed the Color of Food map — which charts farms and food justice initiatives owned or operated by people of color. Anyone in the world can add to the map. There are already 272 organizations featured on this list.