In a first of a four-part series appearing in Civil Eats, author Natasha Bowens (@browngirlfarmin) publishes excerpts from her book, The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming.

The first piece profiles Renard “Azibo” Turner, whom Bowens describes as “a compact bundle of energy.” She writes:


Renard and his wife Chinette first had their dream of farming while living in Washington, D.C. in the ’70s. They were part of an Afro-centric circle of back-to-the-landers, but the circle seemed to be all talk, and Renard and Chinette ended up alone on land in rural Virginia that they had hoped would be a Black community for sustainability. They had to learn everything because neither of them came from an agricultural background. Renard grew up in California as the only Black kid in his school’s Future Farmers of America program, but FFA’s conventional teachings didn’t prepare him for this kind of agrarian life.