Fruit of Soil
The story of two dreamers, Shantae and Art Johnson, who are at the heart of a collective movement of Black farmers in Oregon working around food sovereignty, shared land ownership, community healing, and place reclamation.
IF/Then x The Redford Center Nature Access Pitch 2021 Honorable Mention
FRUIT OF SOIL is the story of two dreamers, Shantae and Art Johnson, who are at the heart of a collective movement of Black farmers in Oregon working around food sovereignty, shared land ownership, community healing, and place reclamation. Art and Shantae’s plan had been to homestead. They were cooped up in their apartment where they found joy in the friendly competition of trying to best each other at growing window sill herbs and vegetables. They missed the land, the gardening they’d grown up with and watched their grandmothers do. After years of Art working as a long haul trucker and Shantae working for the City of Portland as a doula, they decided to quit their jobs. The two moved into a mobile home, used their savings to enroll in a farming education program, and began to figure out how to get back to the land. Together, they are creating a ripple of change in the Black community by growing food, investing in Black farmers, and feeding Black people.
This is beyond economic viability. This is farming for survival, in a historically anti-Black place. Their budding farms are a new Mecca for Black folks, a safe space in a city that is still very isolating for many. It is also an example of what could be; the fruits of a world Black farmers are imagining for themselves and their community.
Faith E. BriggsDirector
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