While suspended in an international resurgence of political and emotional upheaval in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, I’ve been thinking about the origin story of racism and police violence in this country and how it happened first on the land in the field. We built this nation-state on land stolen from indigenous people and this economy on labor extracted from the enslavement of black people. One of the original iterations of the police force in the South, literally called the “slave patrol,” was tasked with chasing down slaves and preventing slave revolts. Since then, there have been too many institutions created to reinforce our systemically racist food system for me to name here (but you can read about them here).
In this moment, I invite you to think critically about the history of your food. How did it get here? Who owns — and who lost their rights to — the land this food was grown on and why? Why is it that our food system still depends heavily on undocumented migrant farmworkers? Who and what sort of system are you investing in when you make your food choices? How can you engage with the food system in a way that addresses these historical and contemporary injustices?
If you believe that black lives matter, support black farmers. If you believe that our racist food system should no longer reap the benefits of stolen land and labor, support BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) farmers. Farmers of color are calling for reparations of land and resources that they have been historically denied so that they can nourish and redistribute these to their communities. Soul Fire Farm created a reparations map for black and indigenous farmers and compiled this list of black and indigenous-led farming organizations that you can follow and support.
- National Black Food and Justice Alliance
- Federation of Southern Cooperatives
- Southeastern African American Organic Farmers Network Black Family Land Trust
- Black Belt Justice Center
- Black Urban Growers
- Detroit Black Community Food Security Network Land Loss Prevention Project
- Southern Grassroots Economies Project
- Farms to Grow
- Cooperation Jackson
- Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living
- Truly Living Well
- Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Locally, you can support the following black and indigenous-led farming organizations. This is not an exhaustive list, and you can follow our farm blog to see updates to this list. If you have contributions to this list, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We Grow Urban Farm (West Sacramento)
- Three Sisters Gardens (West Sacramento)
- Yisrael Family Urban Farm (Sacramento)
- The Worm Whisperer Farms (Sacramento)
- Black Bicycle Farm (Davis)
- Urban Tilth (Richmond)
- Black Earth Farms (Berkeley)
- Brown Girl Farms (Oakland)
- Acta Non Verba (Oakland)
- Raised Roots (Oakland)
- Sogorea Te’ Land Trust (Oakland)
- Hummingbird Farm (San Francisco)
- ACORN: Advancing Cultural Opportunities for Reclaiming Nutrition (Santa Rosa)
I leave you with this poem titled “Black Gold” by Naima Penniman, Program Director at Soul Fire Farm in New York. If you prefer to watch it in cell phone video form, you can listen to Naima performing it here.
Peace and love,
Kaitlin, Tess & the Cloverleaves