Anti-Racism and The Farm Ecologist

 

“What does agriculture have to do with the protests happening in cities and towns right now? Agriculture in this country and around the world was built on and continues to benefit from slavery, land theft, and the exploitation of Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. Further, the effects of climate change, inequitable food distribution, and food insecurity disproportionately impact communities of color. For agriculture to be truly regenerative, this must change.”

— The Quivira Coalition

There can be neither regenerative agriculture nor regenerative economy without racial equity. 

I am outraged and saddened by the violence against and murders of Black people by acts of police brutality and systemic racism. Furthermore, it is abundantly clear how deeply racism and social injustice permeates our food systems — indeed, these unjust structures are those on which our food systems, from property ownership to food pricing and distribution to zoning and agricultural land planning, are built.

I also recognize how my own actions (or lack thereof) and history in part, large or small, perpetuate these injustices. While I have always believed, and continue to support that Black lives matter, I have until now not outwardly stood up for the rights and freedoms of others. This is a direct reflection of my own privilege and I am working daily to change this silence and complacency through real action.

I stand in solidarity with protests across the country and with the organizations and individuals who demand justice and accountability from law enforcement. If we want sustainable and regenerative food and agriculture systems, we must stand and act together to dismantle the institutional, systemic, and individual racism that permeates Western culture, and the United States in particular.

I will work to amplify the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) farmers and ranchers, conservationists, scientists, teachers, agency representatives, and others through my work, at all levels. Moreso, however, I will continue to build relationships to support BIPOC sovereignty and land stewardship efforts so that I can continue to better understand and dismantle systemic racism wherever it occurs in my life and work.

For agriculture to be truly regenerative, we must learn from and center the land-based knowledge, leadership, and vision of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.

I encourage you, too, to stand against racism.

Anti-Racism Resources and BIPOC Businesses in Regenerative Agriculture and Economics

  • Nikki Silvestri, coach, mentor and business woman is someone I’ve been following for years and whose regularish email is always insightful, thought-provoking and well worth a thorough read (and response).
  • My dear friend Pamela Nearsis a culinary anthropologist and consultant in southern California; if you are at all considering a food-related event based in concepts of slow/soul food, community building, regenerative agriculture and community-based food activism, I can’t recommend her enough. She’s also just an incredible joy to work and spend time with!
  • Pandora Thomas’s Black Permaculture Network ‚Äčis doing some edge-pushing work around reducing barriers to land acquisition and ownership for BIPOC folks. 
  • The East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative is another innovative and progressive model with similar goals.
  • The Young Farmer Coalition has produced an excellent  Racial Equity Toolkit (PDF)
  • Quivira Coalition has curated a lengthy list of Black- and BIPOC-led organizations; they are also undertaking the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Challenge, created by Food Solutions New England. 

This is an extremely partial list to which I will be continuously adding to amplify and raise the voices of BIPOC friends, colleagues, mentors and leaders in order to combat racism wherever, whenever and in whatever context it occurs.