Ending violence against people of color in food and farming

We begin with the simple and necessary affirmation that Black Lives Matter. We know that systemic racism encumbers people of color in almost every aspect of life—from physical violence to the wealth gap to disproportionate incarceration to housing discrimination. We recognize the destructiveness of food apartheid, and that access to healthy, fresh food and inclusion in the “good food movement” are not equal across racial difference.  We also acknowledge that systemic racism divides us all with fear and guilt, undercuts our personal relationships, and keeps us all and our movement from reaching full potential. And we affirm that the agricultural community must show up to be a part of solving these challenges.

The contributions to agriculture made by people of color in the United States are immense.  At its founding, this country’s wealth was built on the agricultural labor of black slaves. Latinos, Latino immigrants, and other foreign-born farmworkers of color currently undergird the U.S. food system and produce the majority of the food we eat.  More than 60% of the world’s food supply comes from crops originally cultivated by Native American farmers. Chicano farmers have led the charge for farm worker rights and continue to be leaders in grassroots farmer organizing.  African American farmers modeled today’s intensive and profitable small farms fifty years ago, and pioneered farmer cooperatives and community land trusts.  And Hmong American farmers are now at the forefront of popularizing local food in the Midwest.   However, these vital contributions to agriculture by people of color go largely unacknowledged within the dominant narrative of farming in this country.

Read the rest at the National Young Farmers Coalition website

 

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