International Women's Day

Our Stories, Our Dreams, Our Labor

Minkah Eshe Taharkah

Minkah is a community organizer, artist, and co-founder of Black Earth Farms a collectively run organization focused on reclaiming land to build wellness and feed Black residents in South Central Los Angeles and the Bay area. A South Central native with roots in Leimert Park, she is a multifaceted person who uses her lens as an artist to highlight and integrate Black joy and Black Womanhood in all of her community work which focuses on creating spaces for wellness and building support systems so that all community members, young and old, may thrive.

Minkah’s social action work began in high school, where she helped organize around the unfair practice of ticketing youth for being late to school. This work served as a springboard for her involvement around other social justice issues in her community, eventually leading her to Environmental Justice and Food Insecurity. In 2019, as a UC Berkeley student, she co-founded Black Earth Farms, a Black and Indigenous-led agroecology collective composed of land stewards and community healers. Realizing that many people face systemic barriers to accessing healthy food, the organization focused on improving access to fresh and organic vegetables to Black Bay Area communities. To achieve their goal, they began to reclaim public spaces such as plots for ornamental landscaping, abandoned student gardens, and underused research and community farm spaces to grow food in addition to collecting food through donations or by trading produce.

In 2020, Minkah brought the project to South Central Los Angeles where she saw the same issues of food insecurity and a need for people to become more self-sustaining in the neighborhood where she grew up. She began by growing vegetables in her own backyard. focusing on empowering Black and melanated women across the diaspora to continue practicing land stewardship in many different forms to promote healthier eating. In the years to date, her sibling and fellow earth lover Anbiya Taharkah has been spearheading their garden's care, further enriching the family and community legacy. After building a model in the Bay Area, she is currently in transition to work with the community members in South Central that have been holding down similar roles. She is eager to integrate these practices and learn more about the ever-increasing need to support access to fresh food in her hometown. As she begins to expand the work in South Central, she keeps her next-door neighbors, the grandmas, aunties, uncles, and the lady who grows collard greens around the corner, in mind, who have all been engaging in self-sufficient farm-to-table lifestyles. In South Central, she sees healthy eating habits as the building blocks for a thriving community. 

Minkah recognizes the added pressures that come with being a femme-bodied person of doing it all even when lacking adequate support systems. Through her years as a community organizer, after much arduous work, she began to internalize shame for not being able to do more. On the verge of burnout, she one day realized that she needed to recognize her worth and demand better support systems in her movement building. She encourages other women to create support systems around themselves, to create a toolkit of affirmations, reminders, practices, and exercises that they can use to mitigate their response to the hectic nature of everyday life.

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