"Heaven on earth"
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This dissertation draws from theorizations on racialized public and private spaces to examine the day-to-day activities, rhetoric, and goals of three black religious food programs: a mainstream black Protestant church, a black Christian nationalist organization, and a Muslim black nationalist organization. I conceive of these food programs as distinct racial projects that are simultaneously a part of larger racial projects. Wheat Street Baptist Church, located in Atlanta, GA operates the Action Mission Ministry, a traditional emergency food program whose goal is to feed the hungry and clothe the poor. I argue that through food and faith, blacks seek to encourage black people in the hopes that they will be able to make substantive life changes. The Nation of Islam owns Muhammad Farms, a sixteen hundred acre farm in southern Georgia, United States. In this paper, I argue that the Nation of Islam uses community nationalism, evoking common tragic and triumphant images of rural land, to appeal to blacks who may not share their ideological beliefs. Finally, I argue that Pan African Orthodox Christian Church represents a modern day African American Land Ethic. Through understanding the practices and principles of this land ethic, we are one step closer to making the alternative food movement more inclusive. In this dissertation, I utilize archival and textual research, along with participant observation and open-ended interviews to get a true sense of the operations of these food programs and how they are tied into racial projects and racial formation.