Pursuing transparency, justice, and knowledge about the commodities we consume and the people who make them. I believe in the arts of creation, storytelling, and experience as the best sources of wisdom.
“Anthropology is less about the study of an object, less about gaining knowledge about the world and the people in it, and more about opening our eyes and minds to other possibilities of being.
Anthropology is a way of attending to and thinking an otherwise. To know another is, in some senses, the most intimate act, and as a “way of knowing it is also a way of being.”
Welcome to Yellow Earth! I began Yellow Earth as my creative space to share my photography, storytelling, and writing reflections.
My name is Alexa Romano. I was raised in the scenic and vast landscapes of New Mexico. Playing basketball granted me a scholarship to attend Stanford University. I received a BA in Anthropology with a double minor in Art Practice: Photography and Ethics in Society. I researched the bureaucratic and affective productions of “heritage” at both the central Andean town and UNESCO archeological site: Chavín de Huantar, Peru.
I received an MA in Anthropology from Stanford as well. I investigated the coffee commodity chain involving women and youth small holder coffee producers in Costa Rica. I explored the mystified, obscured, and (un)ethical relations that tether producer societies to consumer societies. I became passionate about climate and social justice rooted action that is so needed in small holder producer communities. I ground photography and storytelling at the core of all my research.
I am currently based in San Francisco. The pulse that underlies everything I do is keeping a presence in coffee spaces– thanks to all time I dedicated to coffee research throughout college. I have been a farm-to-table apprentice with Stanford’s Executive Dining program, a coffee roaster’s apprentice, a barista at Ritual Coffee Roasters, a baker at a renowned Scandinavian bakery in San Francisco (because pastries always must accompany espresso), and now a current manager for a non-profit social enterprise restaurant that employs and trains San Franciscans who are formerly homeless, incarcerated, substance abusing, or citizenship seeking. Here, I learned that food insecurity and food justice are just as prevalent in large cities as they are in the small raw commodity-producing countries. The common thread between all past and current experiences is my love for people and the commodities that we make and enjoy together.
In my free time I road cycle, write for Barista Magazine, bake scones, take photographs, back-pack, rock climb, read books, iterate on the best home-made granola recipes, and seek any opportunity to expand my skillsets.
Although Yellow Earth is just me for now, a small historic building in northern New Mexico called Tierra Amarilla (Yellow Earth) is under restoration.