Tony Cohen

We have a special bonus episode for you this week in celebration of Juneteenth! Mary and Emma reunite with author, historian and farmer Tony Cohen for an exploration into the history of Juneteenth and the holiday’s complex folklore and origins. Tony takes us back in time to examine how this monumental declaration of freedom spread in a variety of ways depending on the geographic, economic and social landscape of the time.

Mary, Emma and Tony pause to reflect upon what freedom means and looks like in the modern era and why society continues to resist a hard look at injustice. Tony points to how altering behavior can feel like giving up our own freedoms and comforts and reminds us that the fair trade movement has deeply historic roots. He also reflects upon the transition from enslavement to the tenant farming system and points to how that system affects us still today.  The trio grapples with some hard truths about freedom itself and acknowledges the work still left to be done.  

Tony shares how he celebrates Juneteenth at Button Farm and rejoices in community as he reflects upon the precious ability to gather and take new found enthusiasm into the world. 

Listen to our conversation below:




1:30  -  Emma introduces this week’s special episode

3:00  -  Tony Cohen on the history of Juneteenth

15:00  -  The transition into freedom

20:00  -  The shift to “waged” labor and the evolution of slavery

28:00  -  Fair trade

31:00  -  Local emancipation

41:00  -  Celebrating Juneteenth

42:30  -  The happenings at Button Farm

48:00  -  Creating Community


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