GRIT Country Skills Series

From Total Loss to Sustainable Success

‘Hurricane Katrina was a wake-up call. It allowed us to see how close we are to dying. The hurricane is how I became a farmer.”

—Yasin Muhaimin

The Color of Food by Natasha Bowens, (New Society Publishers, 2015) teaches us that the food and farm movement is about more than buying local and protecting our soil. It is about preserving community, digging deeply into the places we’ve overlooked, and celebrating those who have come before us. In this excerpt, we meet Yasin Muhaimin who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. He and his wife, Elaine, worked to rebuild their lives as farmers, finding joy and fulfillment in their work.

Thinking about the resilience it takes to bounce back from struggle and trauma, I steer (my car) toward a region of the country that is still digging deep for the strength to overcome one of the worst hurricanes in our nation's history. Hurricane Katrina impacted millions of lives in the South and dispersed families across states, leaving them with nothing to rebuild their lives.

The Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network put me in contact with a family who used their resilience, faith, dedication, and passion for clean, healthy food to build themselves a new way of life in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The chicken in his hand clucks wildly as I ask Yasin Muhaimin about his farm.

He swiftly puts the chicken’s neck through the metal cone used to hold it in

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