Sylvanaqua Farms’ co-founder, Chris Newman, is a permaculturalist and an outspoken evangelist of ecological, economic, and social sustainability in food. He’s garnered both criticism and praise for 1.) advocating a moderate, pragmatic approach to sustainable food systems that recognizes the complementary roles of both ecological farming and technological innovation; 2.) frank discussions of the intersection of race and agriculture; and 3.) blunt, unsparing criticism of the “clean food” movement’s often-elitist values and aversion to self-reflection.
A member of the Choptico Band of Piscataway Indians, Chris places a heavy emphasis on the Indigenous ethics, values, and knowledge serving as the (often unacknowledged) foundation of the modern permaculture movement, and the decolonized worldview necessary to ensure the sustainable stewardship of natural resources. An engineer and technologist by trade, he also accepts and explores the potential of modern scientific innovation to address the gaps left by ecosystem farming in solving a sustainability problem wherein timeliness is a factor.