Town Hall Seattle and Third Place Books are thrilled to present Liz Carlisle for a discussion of her timely work of nonfiction Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming, stories of American farming showcasing the BIPOC farmers who are leading the regenerative agriculture movement through rich storytelling. Carlisle will be in conversation with ecologist Latrice Tatsey and chef Hillel Echo-Hawk.
This event will take place virtually through Town Hall Seattle. Purchase tickets here.
A powerful movement is happening in farming today—farmers are reconnecting with their roots to fight climate change. For one woman, that’s meant learning her tribe’s history to help bring back the buffalo. For another, it’s meant preserving forest purchased by her great-great-uncle, among the first wave of African Americans to buy land. Others are rejecting monoculture to grow corn, beans, and squash the way farmers in Mexico have done for centuries. Still others are rotating crops for the native cuisines of those who fled the “American wars” in Southeast Asia.
In Healing Grounds, Liz Carlisle tells the stories of Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Asian American farmers who are reviving their ancestors’ methods of growing food—techniques long suppressed by the industrial food system. These farmers are restoring native prairies, nurturing beneficial fungi, and enriching soil health. While feeding their communities and revitalizing cultural ties to land, they are steadily stitching ecosystems back together and repairing the natural carbon cycle. This, Carlisle shows, is the true regenerative agriculture – not merely a set of technical tricks for storing CO2 in the ground, but a holistic approach that values diversity in both plants and people.
Cultivating this kind of regenerative farming will require reckoning with our nation’s agricultural history—a history marked by discrimination and displacement. And it will ultimately require dismantling power structures that have blocked many farmers of color from owning land or building wealth.
The task is great, but so is its promise. By coming together to restore these farmlands, we can not only heal our planet, we can heal our communities and ourselves.
"In Healing Grounds, Liz Carlisle makes the compelling case that soil can save us from climate catastrophe, but only if the global Indigenous communities who originated soil stewardship practices lead the way. In a tone that is both authoritative and humble, Carlisle convinces the reader that the same extractive forces that wrest carbon from the soil, also yank earth stewards from the land. Further, there can be no ecosystemic redemption without addressing colonialism. Healing Grounds is a refreshingly truthful account of real roots of climate chaos and the authentic path to healing."
—Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black and Co-Founder, Soul Fire Farm
"Liz Carlisle gets to the heart of the matter: You can't have good farming or good food without social justice, and social justice is inextricably tied to race and land reform. The biggest issues in the United States are addressed here, directly and fairly. As important a 'food' book as we've seen."
—Mark Bittman, author of Animal, Vegetable, Junk
"In this wonderful book, Liz Carlisle shares the dissidence against the dominion of colonial capitalism in these United States. She analyzes what America might become, and shares a map for the noble work ahead to get there. The best of it is that the ground beneath your feet will never feel the same again."
—Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved
Liz Carlisle is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at UC Santa Barbara, where she teaches courses on food and farming. Born and raised in Montana, she got hooked on agriculture while working as an aide to organic farmer and U.S. Senator Jon Tester, which led to a decade of research and writing collaborations with farmers in her home state. She has written three books about regenerative farming and agroecology: Lentil Underground (2015), Grain by Grain (2019, with co-author Bob Quinn), and most recently, Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming (2022). Prior to her career as a writer and academic, she spent several years touring rural America as a country singer.
Latrice Tatsey (In-niisk-ka-mah-kii) is an ecologist and advocate for tribally-directed bison restoration who remains active in her family’s cattle ranching operation at Blackfeet Nation in northwest Montana. Her research focuses on organic matter and carbon in soil, and specifically, the benefits to soil from the reintroduction of bison (iin-ni) to their traditional grazing landscapes on the Blackfeet Reservation. Latrice is currently completing her master’s degree in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at Montana State University and she serves as a research fellow with the Piikani Lodge Health Institute and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Hillel Echo-Hawk (she/her; Pawnee and Athabaskan) is an Indigenous chef, caterer, and speaker born and raised in the interior of Alaska around the Athabaskan village of Mentasta –– home to the matriarchal chief and subsistence rights activist, Katie John. Watching John and other Indigenous Peoples’ fight for food sovereignty, as well as seeing her mother strive to make healthy, home-cooked meals for her and her six siblings, gave Hillel a unique perspective on diet and wellness. Echo-Hawk is the owner of Birch Basket, her food and work has been featured in James Beard, Bon Appetit, Eater, Huffpost, National Geographic, PBS, Vogue, The Seattle Times, and many, many more.
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