Young Black people will lead the conversation on changing our food and farming systems.

As a food professional, activist and educator, I deeply understand that caring about food means caring about people.

For the past decade, I’ve worked within a movement that upholds values of “good, clean and fair,” yet remains quiet or woefully tone-deaf in conversations about black and brown people, specifically in regards to racism, state-sanctioned violence, and rising inequality. Whether I’m simmering large vats of Blenheim apricots for award-winning artisan preserves (what up, Mrs. Abby Fisher!), frying up cornmeal-crusted local fish filets for a community dinner, chatting with black youth on how to organize around better school lunches, or helping expand EBT SNAP benefits at farmer’s markets, it’s ultimately about nourishing and uplifting people.

In a very real sense, the future of food is people. And that future looks a lot like me: a young, black woman, hungry for change.

This future was also written long ago. You see, my journey to feed others well was paved by black women across food landscape for generations before me From the revered restaurant of the iconic Leah Chase, to the soulful sophistication of Edna Lewis’ cooking, to the field organizing of activist-farmer Fannie Lou Hamer, black women have been central figures in the public development of American cuisine. Beyond these accolades, our country’s has a deeper history still of countless lesser-known black women, enslaved in fields and kitchens, who have fed children not their own and who have long shaped our most celebrated foodways, recipes and sustainable agricultural practices.

Despite this rich history, I often feel alone. Our national good food obsession can curate Instagrams of oozing sandwich stacks higher than black folks’ restaurant wages. Our movement marches against an unknown impact of GMOs, but not to change the known dearth of food spaces with black CEOs.