The tragic history of the ordinary peanut

Gosia Wozniacka Civil Eats, international

One of the pleasures of my job at Civil Eats is doing interviews with the authors of books that help shift our understanding of environmental justice issues and the food system. This month, I interviewed journalist Jori Lewis about her new book Slaves for Peanuts. We talked about how the ordinary, ubiquitous peanuts became a tool for colonial expansion in West Africa, how the colonial approach to peanut farming destroyed prime cropland, and why indigenous approaches to agriculture are so often discounted by white men. This book, written skillfully and elegantly in narrative form, takes us back in time to the era of the slave trade and shows us how the peanut trade impacted an entire region — and more — for decades to come. I highly recommend it. 

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