Our next podcast guest shines a light on black farmers in celebration of black history month. Justin Butts may be young, but he’s already accomplished an impressive resume. He’s served in the armed forces, studied at the Culinary Institute of America, and launched his own soap business, Butts Brothers, sourcing lard from the Kune Kune pigs that he raises.
In his newest gig as livestock coordinator for Soul Fire Farm, Justin is working diligently to help the community learn more about livestock production, eating meat, and the joys of nose-to-tail dining. This work constitutes the culmination of so many skills and interests that he’s touched on throughout his career including juggling multiple projects, a passion for delicious food, and reconnecting people with the food that they eat. He also shares his experiences as a black farmer and offers advice for other people of color who are interested in getting involved in food system work through farming or other avenues.
Soul Fire Farm is dedicated to ending racism and injustice in the food system through a variety of outreach efforts including working with youth through a restorative justice program that offers farm-based alternatives to incarceration. From blatant discrimination against people of color by the USDA to the abuse of legal loopholes that stripped millions of acres from black families, Soul Fire Farm is raising awareness about the challenges that farmers of color face and the opportunities that lie ahead.
It also maintains a lengthy list of publications regarding Soul Fire Farm’s work.
The New York-based operation recently released a new book called Farming While Black that offers the first comprehensive manual for African-heritage people who are “ready to reclaim their rightful place of dignified agency in the food system.” The guide provides a “how-to” for all aspects of small-scale farming interspersed with wisdom and encouragement to inspire more justice in the farming and food system.
Please enjoy this episode and check out Justin’s and Soul Fire Farm’s incredible work!