Our August 2021 Grantee, Artistic Apothecary's founding steward kuwa jasiri is cultivating a culture of seed saving, generational healing and an impactful space for genderqueer people of heritage. This has me thinking through the intersectional approach to agriculture and our lives.
What’s the definition of Intersectional Agriculture? It’s the crossing of two (or more) issues or ideas that creates a unique and helpful perspective. The concept can apply to anything from race, gender, disability, sexuality, and more. Why does intersectionality matter when it comes to agriculture? Well, because agriculture has long been associated with one issue- food production.
1) Socially conscious farming
There are two main reasons for socially conscious farming. The first one is that we need a lot more sustainable food sources. We are running out of natural resources and we need to slow down climate change. A problem with conventional farming is that pesticides and fertilizer pollute our water supplies, leading to less fertile land, which makes farmers resort to using even more chemicals to grow enough crops for consumption. A second reason for socially conscious farming has to do with social justice: Not everyone in society has access to affordable or nutritious food sources.
2) Cultivating Community through Farming
Many people, whether they’re conscious of it or not, live in a food aphartied. These are areas without access to healthy, affordable food. There has been a lot of talk about community gardens as a solution for these issues—and they can be helpful—but there are other types of agriculture that can create real change. Intersectional agriculture (IA) creates access to healthy food for residents by centering the impacted individuals in community decision making and education, rather than thinking about them as beneficiaries. IA seeks to bring different races, classes, genders and ethnicities together on farms while offering opportunities to learn about and help run agriculture efforts themselves.
3) Applying intersectionality in your projects
Intersectionality is an important concept for every aspect of our lives as we continue to advance and fight climate change. It refers to how various aspects of our identity—race, gender, sexuality, disability status, etc.—intersect with one another to inform our social locations in society. In other words: we can’t fully understand what it means to be human without also understanding how many different facets of identity impact each person’s unique experience of living in a certain time and place.