Naima Penniman

“We are being called to address some deep structural injustices in our food systems.”


Naima Penniman is the Program Director at Soul Fire Farm in the United States of America. The Afro-Indigenous centered training farm is located on 80 acres of land historically stewarded by the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the indigenous Mohican Nation.

The farm aims to help Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) have greater say in, and control over, their food systems. Naima says the lack of access to healthy food disproportionately affects communities of color in the area.

“In this time of crisis and food scarcity, 100 percent of our harvest is going to people in our community who need it most, folks who are living under food apartheid, or impacted by mass incarceration, or who are from our refugee community,” Naima says.

Soul Fire Farm began as a family farm in South East Albany, New York, in 2010. It now reaches over 10,000 people annually with various initiatives and has more than 127,000 followers on social media.

Their capacity-builing programmes include farmer training, reparations and land-return initiatives for northeastern farmers, food justice workshops for urban youth, and education for public decision-makers on social and political issues that affect access to food—all with an emphasis on environmental sustainability. The farm is currently offering online training programs and skill shares in place of in-person oppertunities this year due to the pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, with their Solidarity Share Program, the farm has been making food deliveries to vulnerable families and building raised garden beds for urban households. They have also provided affordable bulk products to community groups working on the front lines of pandemic response.

“It really brings so much meaning for all of us on the team to be able to pack boxes of berries, greens, herbs - both medicinal and culinary - jams and pesto, and to be able to bring that to families who, otherwise, wouldn’t have access.”

This food hero is building the communities’ capacity to create more sustainable, resilient and equitable food systems.