Senior Fellow, Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems
- Senior Fellow, Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems
Malik Kenyatta Yakini is an activist and educator who is committed to freedom and justice for African people in particular and humanity in general. Yakini is a co-founder and the Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates a seven-acre farm in Detroit and spearheaded efforts to establish the Detroit Food Policy Council, which he chaired from December 2009 - May 2012. He served as a member of the Michigan Food Policy Council from 2008 - 2010. From 2011 - 2013 he served on the steering committee of Uprooting Racism Planting Justice. He is a co-founder of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance.
From 1990 - 2011 he served as Executive Director of Nsoroma Institute Public School Academy, one of Detroit's leading African-centered schools. In 2006 he was honored as "Administrator of the Year" by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Timbuktu Academy of Science and Technology from 2004 - 2011. He is C.E.O. of Black Star Educational Management.
He is dedicated to working to identify and alleviate the impact of racism and white privilege on the food system. He has an intense interest in contributing to the development of an international food sovereignty movement that embraces Blacks farmers in the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa. He views the "good food revolution" as part of the larger movement for freedom, justice and equality.
Yakini has presented at numerous local community meetings and national conferences on creating a racially just food system and implementing community food sovereignty practices. In 2017 and 2018 he co-led the course “Food Literacy for All” at the University of Michigan. He is featured in the book "Blacks Living Green," and the movies "Urban Roots" and “Tomorrow”. He has appeared on the nationally televised Tavis Smiley Show and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. He served as an Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy "Food and Community Fellow" from 2011- 2013, and a Business Alliance for Living Local Economies (BALLE) Localist Fellow from 2014 - 2015.
He is the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious James Beard Leadership Award. He holds a B.A. degree in Broadcasting from Eastern Michigan University.
Yakini is a musician who plays guitar, bass and dundun drums. He currently leads the Detroit-based band Mollywop! He has traveled to Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Cote d'Ivoire, Jamaica, Italy, France, Spain and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is the father of three and the grandfather of one. He is a vegan and an avid organic grower.