Navina Khanna


Name: Navina Khanna
Object: Papaya Seeds
Changemaking at: HEAL Food Alliance

Portrait by:  Brenton Gieser

Portrait by: Brenton Gieser

Audio Transcript: For me, and for a lot of first generation folks, there’s a struggle to figure out our sense of identity and how we connect with our lineage, and culture, and our place in the world.  

I’m Navina Khanna with the HEAL Food Alliance. HEAL stands for health, environment, agriculture, labor. It’s a multi-racial and multI-sector coalition of groups all around the country that are organizing to build our collective power to make transformative change. But part of why we love that acronym too is because it really speaks to what we know we need, which is healing. Healing ourselves, healing our bodies, healing our communities, healing our relationships to our communities and to the land, so together we’re trying to heal food.

The first object that I brought is a small container of papaya seeds that I keep on my altar. For me, the papaya seeds represent a long lineage of people who have been holding on to their cultural traditions and to their food ways. To the land, to connecting with themselves as people, to communities, to families.  The papaya seeds for me symbolize the importance of retaining those traditional food ways and traditional ways of being on our land. My work, while it takes a lot of different forms around policy change and organizing, really to me is about how we restore right relationships with ourselves and our communities and our land.