Chris Newman

Organization: Sylvanaqua Farms

Location: Montross, VA

In his words...

“I’m one of the lucky ones; the so-called exceptional negro. People of all political stripes wield my story like a cudgel — conservatives use it to argue that people of color can make it if they’re not preoccupied with blaming White people for their lot in life; liberals use it to assert progress on their social goals in spite of the right’s intransigent (and presumably exclusive) refusal to address racism.The truth, however, makes no one happy: 1.) Conservatives refuse to acknowledge racism, 2.) Liberals refuse to confront racism unless it carries a flag, 3.) As a result, what success I’ve had in life is owed mostly to an ability to make White people very, very comfortable.” / via Medium

Chris's Story:

Chris Newman describes himself as a farmer and indigenous food sovereignty advocate in Central Virginia who is tall, skinny, light-skinned with green eyes, and growing a great and wooly beard for totally non-political reasons. He’s out to democratize food and agriculture in the Washington D.C. region by building a vertically-integrated, employee-owned cooperative of farms, nurseries, mills, processors, retail outlets and wholesale distributors that creates the political pressure necessary to redefine regenerative agriculture as conventional, and conventional agriculture as legacy. Whew, right? But he realizes that most people who visit his Sylvanaqua farm on 40-ish acres in rural Montross just outside of the District are probably there for the food. 

When not watering the pigs in a huge field of chicory, he monitors the status of White supremacy activities from his phone’s newsfeed and then blogs his reactions to this (Small Family Farms are Not the Answer and What’s Wrong with Blue Apron) on Medium and other courageous media platforms. An enrolled member of the Choptico band of the Piscataway Indians, the former software engineer started farming when his wife insisted he abandon his tech career following a health scare. Today, he sells his pastured eggs, poultry and meats at five farmers markets, retail establishments, and restaurants. Born and raised in the D.C. area by parents who emphasized education, he studied at exclusive private schools, where he became comfortable helping White people feel comfortable around him.

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