Journalist John Biewen to Cap Off ‘Whiteness in the Food System’ Study Series March 30

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Nationally known journalist and documentarian John Biewen will cap off a special “Whiteness in the Food System” study series with a keynote and question-and-answer-session Tuesday, March 30, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The suggested fee for this virtual Zoom event is a donation of $20 — proceeds will be split between the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) and the Midwest Farmers of Color Collective (MFCC). To register and for more information, see landstewardshipproject.org/events/johnbiewen.

Biewen, who grew up in Mankato, Minn., is the host of the “Scene on Radio” podcast and audio program director at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies. During much of his 30-year career as a public radio journalist and documentary-maker, he has worked to shed light on racial inequities. Through the groundbreaking Scene on Radio podcast series, “Seeing White,” Biewen introduced hundreds of thousands of listeners to the concept of whiteness through interviews with historians, researchers and activists. Biewen’s insightful approach to this series was that to “see white” is to see the mechanisms of power in the United States.

During the March 30 event, he will share details about how “Seeing White” came together and how we can use whiteness as a concept to advance racial equity. He will also take questions from members of a Land Stewardship Project study group that has been examining whiteness in the food system using the journalist’s work. This group has been tracing the origins of whiteness in this country’s founding and learning to locate whiteness in their own lives, especially as it pertains to our food system. This group has also been learning about how by identifying this elusive but pervasive force, we can use what we learn to advance racial equity.

“Whiteness is a force that affects nearly every aspect of our lives in this country, yet white people hardly notice its presence,” said LSP’s Elizabeth Makarewicz, who organized the study series. “John’s keynote will help us uncover how whiteness has impacted our nation’s most hallowed institutions to the detriment of a thriving multicultural, multiracial democracy. Acknowledging this troubling history is the first step — then we can take on the important work of reform.”

The Midwest Farmers of Color Collective is made up of farmers of color working for racial justice and the development of food and farming systems that honor our communities. The Land Stewardship Project’s mission is to foster an ethic of stewardship for farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture and to develop healthy communities for everyone.

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