You could say this show has been on a bit of a plant-based tear lately, and this week it continues with with my friend Bryant Terry – eco-chef, cookbook author, educator and most interesting to me, a renown social justice activist focused on promoting and healthy, just, affordable and sustainable food systems for all people – particularly the underprivileged living in underserved urban communities. His goal? To foster awareness, promote change and create opportunities for people living in urban food deserts — places where fresh, healthy, sustainable food is difficult or impossible to obtain.
Why? Because good food should be an everyday right — not a privilege.
Bryant’s got a slew of really beautiful cookbooks that fuse his Memphis family roots and the traditions of true southern African American cooking with art, music, literature a modern plant-based perspective. His most recent offering, Afro Vegan* was named one of the “Best Cookbooks of 2014″ by Amazon.com and his critically acclaimed Vegan Soul Kitchen* was named one of the best vegetarian/vegan cookbooks of the last 25 years by Cooking Light Magazine.
Bryant’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Food and Wine, Gourmet, Sunset, Oprah Magazine and Essence and he has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show, Emeril, All Things COnsidered, Morning Edition, The Splendid Table, and The Tavis Smiley Show. In addition, Bryant has deleivered keynote addresses at countless events and on college campuses including Brown, Columbia, NYU, Smith, Stanford and Yale.
In addition, TheRoot.com included him on its list of “100 most influential African Americans,” and Ebony magazine listed him on its annual “Power 100” list.
Still not impressed? On top of everything else, Bryant is also the 2014 Artist in Residence at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, where he is curating interesting gatherings with an eye towards promoting deeper community roots.
I could go on – Bryant’s accolades are many – but you get the idea. This guy is so much more than a chef and cookbook author. Behind the affable disposition and congenial smile, Bryant is a true progressive; a boundary pushing, paradigm breaking community-minded advocate passionately devoted to promoting better access to healthful, affordable foods for urban African American and minority communities and tackling the industrialized food system that has made it far too easy for these economically challenged communities to shirk healthy habits in favor of cheap meat and the convenience of fast food.
Bryant delivers the goods on multiple levels and this is an awesome conversation. A dialog that starts with food as the common thread that unites us all and veers into food politics, the economic aspects of food choice, food as a platform to create better communities and food as a vehicle for social justice.
I sincerely hope this week’s offering. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
Peace + Plants,
PS – Make sure you listen all the way to the end or you’ll miss Bryant’s best KRS-One impersonation!
PPS – The above image of Bryant and me was taken prior to the Minneapolis ‘Pointergate’ scandal, but it does sort of serve as an unintentional social commentary on the issue, particularly in light of our conversation about ‘Thug Kitchen.”
- CNN.com: “The Problem With ‘Thug’ Cuisine” by Bryant Terry
- Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed, by Bryant Terry*
- Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine, by Bryant Terry*
- The Inspired Vegan: Seasonal Ingredients, Creative Recipes, Mouthwatering Menus, by Bryant Terry*
- Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen, by Anna Lappe & Bryant Terry*
- Grace Cathedral Artist in Residence Calendar of Events
*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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