“Revolution is based on land. Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality.”-Malcolm X
Owning land is a privilege. It offers food security, a self sustaining way of life, a source of income, and a place to call home. Amidst the current climate the crew at Tangleroot Farm have been doing a lot of thinking about The Black Lives Matter Movement, and our own privilege as white farmers. We are excited by the momentum of this movement, and to be honest we are still trying to figure out the best way for us to support it. To start, we are educating ourselves and using our platform to disseminate what we learn. As our valued community we would like to share with you a bit about what we have been reading and thinking about this week.
In 1920 African-Americans made up 14% of all growers. Today they make up a mere 2%. This sharp decline in black farmers is the result of systemic racism, discrimination, and violence against black land owners. Over 14 million acres of land has been lost to the black community over this time. On a closely related note, food insecurity and illness directly connected to poor food access is especially prevalent in black communities.
We would like to bring to your attention the work being done at Soul Fire Farm to rectify this food system injustice. Soul Fire Farm is a nonprofit that was founded by a Black-Jewish family in 2010. They are a diversified agriculture site located in Grafton, NY, practicing sustainable farming, activism, and education. Along with their many community-based initiatives, they offer a sliding-scale farmshare CSA to food insecure residents of the Albany-Troy area. They operate their organization around the mission of giving people of color access to food, land, agency in the food system, and an education on how to be responsible stewards of the land. This is powerful work and a great example of how a person’s role in the food system can be an act of resistance against the racial injustice that plagues our country. Soul Fire Farm is a truly inspiring institution, and a rich educational resource for sustainable farming, business, activism, and so much more. Check them out at http://www.soulfirefarm.org/.
If you are interested in learning more about Soul Fire Farm, and the history and culture that inspired this organization, we recommend reading Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land. Farming While Black was written by Soul Fire Farm Founding Co-Director, Leah Penniman. You can learn more about the work behind this text, and purchase a copy of your own at https://www.farmingwhileblack.org/.
The Black Lives Matter movement caught fire with the murder of George Floyd, but it will burn out without all allies doing their part to continue the conversation privately, publicly, and with his or her friends and family. Please join us in this conversation. Let us know what you’re thinking about, and how we can do better. We commit to being allies of this movement, and to show our support knowing that we will stumble and misstep, but we will keep trying.