Although this event has passed, you can still buy digital passes to view the event recording through May 12 at 7:30 p.m. Author of the novel Queen Sugar, Natalie Baszile has created an immersive, polyphonic examination of Black people’s connection to American land from Emancipation to the present day.
We Are Each Other’s Harvest is an anthology of essays, poems, photographs, quotes, conversations, and first-person stories that explore the lives of Black farmers today: why they continue to farm despite systemic discrimination and land loss, how they are building on the legacy of their ancestors, and the challenges they face in seeking to redress food justice, food sovereignty, and reparations.
Q&A with Kimberly A.C. Wilson.
From the author of the novel Queen Sugar—now a critically acclaimed series on OWN directed by Ava Duvernay—comes We Are Each Other’s Harvest, Natalie Baszile’s beautiful exploration and celebration of Black farming in America. In this anthology, Baszile weaves together essays, poems, photographs, quotes, conversations, and first-person stories to examine Black people’s connection to the American land from Emancipation to the present day.
In the 1920s, there were over one million Black farmers; today there are just 45,000. Baszile explores this crisis through the farmers’ personal experiences. In their own words, middle-aged and elderly Black farmers explain why they continue to farm despite systemic discrimination and land loss. The “Returning Generation”—young farmers who are building upon the legacy of their ancestors—talk about the challenges they face as they seek to redress issues of food justice, food sovereignty, and reparations.
These farmers are joined by other influential voices, including noted historians Analena Hope Hassberg and Pete Daniel; award-winning author Clyde W. Ford, who considers the arrival of Africans to American shores; and James Beard Award-winning writer Michael Twitty, who reflects on Black culinary tradition and its African roots. Poetry and inspirational quotes are woven into these diverse narratives, adding richness and texture, as well as stunning four-color photographs from photographers Alison Gootee and Malcom Williams, and Baszile’s personal collection.
As Baszile reveals, Black farming informs crucial aspects of American culture: the family, the relationship between national identity and land, the pull of memory, the healing power of food, and race relations. We Are Each Other’s Harvest elevates the voices and stories of Black farmers and people of color, celebrating their perseverance and resilience while spotlighting the challenges they continue to face. Luminous and eye-opening, this eclectic collection helps people and communities of color reimagine what it means to be dedicated to the soil.
Natalie Baszile is the author of the novel Queen Sugar, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2014. Longlisted for the Crooks Corner Southern Book Prize, Queen Sugar was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, adapted for television by writer/director Ava DuVernay, and co-produced by Oprah Winfrey for OWN. Baszile holds an M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA and is a graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers.
Kimberly A.C. Wilson, our moderator for the evening, is a journalist, storyteller, binge reader, proud auntie, and Executive Director of Hedgebrook, a nonprofit writing retreat for women-identified writers on Whidbey Island. She wrote a play and baked pies in Paris, remodeled a family doll house while rewatching every episode of Law & Order, and spent one terrified night with zombies outside Port-au-Prince. When she’s not at her standing desk, you might find Kimberly writing fiction, streaming French crime shows, making jam, or walking in the woods with her middle-aged rescue dog, Hildy Johnson.