Motherland Okra (featuring Michael Twitty and Jon Jackson)
Motherland Okra interviews Michael Twitty, culinary historian and author, as we dig deep into okra's origins on the African continent, and its subsequent 'globetrotting' journey. We learn of the culinary skills and knowledge of people along West coast Africa, where okra is ubiquitous, and recognize slavery's role in the dispersal of food crops as well as those people. Okra is certainly a food, deserving of celebration, but as you'll come to see, it's also so much more!
We were extremely excited to speak to Michael Twitty about okra: Michael really is first and foremost an explorer and a seeker of knowledge. He is a scholar, a historical interpreter and a culinary historian. He’s also an amazing writer. He wrote The Cooking Gene, which won a James Beard Award in 2018 for Book of the Year. Michael Twitty's website, Afroculinaria.com which is a blog and so much more, highlights much of Michael Twitty’s work and projects, which are devoted to African American historic foodways and their legacies. Follow Michael's work on Instagram and Twitter.
Our first Okra Short, comes to us from Jon Jackson. Jon Jackson founded and runs, Comfort Farms, a 20-acre central Georgia farm which helps struggling veterans find connection and belonging as they care for the land and animals. Jon tells us about an okra he is growing from his Mother's land, Liberia. Follow Jon's work on Instagram.
We hope you enjoyed the music outtakes from, The Okra Song, courtesy of Hot Tamale.
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Learn more about your co-hosts:
Chris Smith is a seed saver and permaculturist who loves to write. He is executive director of the Utopian Seed Project, a crop-trialing non-profit working to celebrate food and farming. His book, The Whole Okra, won a James Beard Foundation Award in 2020. More info at blueandyellowmakes.com and utopianseed.org or on Instagram.
Rebekka White is an okrapreneur, artist, and lifelong learner. She believes in planting seeds and growing visions. Her work is committed to building a village that respects and values the contributions of all its inhabitants. Contact her on Instagram at the_wildokra_projects.