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Al Roker is celebrating his birthday by raising awareness for Black-owned Soul Fire Farm

[Aug. 20, 2020: Joseph Shavit]

Al Roker, TODAY Show's EMMY winning weatherman is celebrating his birthday by raising awareness about a unique farm that not only grows food but is committed to ending racism within the food system.

Soul Fire Farm, a community-based farming non-profit, was founded by Leah Penniman, who is of Black and Creole ancestry. She was inspired to start the BIPOC-centered community farm in Grafton, New York, a decade ago after she and her husband could find only limited options for fresh produce to feed their children.

He first learned about Soul Fire Farm when the TODAY show profiled Leah Penniman last year and now he's hoping to raise money for Soul Fire through his first official Facebook fundraiser.

"For my birthday, I'm raising awareness and money for Soul Fire Farm, a community-based farming non-profit, committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system by bringing together diverse communities to share skills - everything from sustainable farming to creating a more equitable solution for community problem solving when it comes to food and hunger. Your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $50. Every little bit helps.", Roker wrote on Facebook.

Courtesy of Soul Fire Farm

"The two concerns for me, as an avid cook, it’s sad that there are so very few healthy and fresh food options available within the inner city and black communities, and something that is also echoed in the 1619 Project — the lack of black farmers operating farms today" said Al.

"I’m encouraged that Soul Fire Farm is addressing all of these crucial issues while also training and mentoring the next generation of farmers of color."

At Soul Fire Farm, students from a diverse array of backgrounds learn sustainable farming techniques, like growing and harvesting a variety of fresh produce.

Penniman, who has also authored a book, won a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award for her work facilitating food sovereignty programs.


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Want to learn more?

Soul Fire Farm is located in Petersburg, New York.

Soul Fire Farm is a BIPOC*-centered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. They raise and distribute life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of our ancestors, they work to reclaim thier collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system.

They bring diverse communities together on this healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice. They are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.

*BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, and People of Color


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