Preserving the Cultural Heritage and Organic Practices of African American Farmers
African Americans and their role in the agricultural history of the United States is very important. Their vast knowledge has be underutilized and their efforts have been unsupported. However, organizations like the Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network (SAAFON) are working to ensure the viability and economic success of black famers. A 2012 USDA Census on Agriculture found that out of approximately two million farms in the United States, only 33,000 were black owned – fewer than 2 percent. However, here in the southeast, a movement to preserve the cultural heritage and growing practices of black farmers has begun.
Keisha Cameron, of High Hog Farms, speaks about what it means to her and her family to honor age old farming traditions. “For me, part of farming is about reimagining and revisioning what it means to be a black person on the land in the South and learning to be self-reliant,” says Cameron. Keisha, along with her husband Warren, and teenage sons continues to work hard to provide good food for all.
Leah Penniman cofounder of Soul Fire Farm and author of Farming While Black states that when black farmers are thriving, we are more likely to get that food to the people who need it most in our communities. GFMA, as well as other organizations like Truly Living Well, are helping to get produce into low-income communities of color, which often like adequate access to fresh food.
Please read more on how to continue to support farms and preserve traditions at https://www.nrdc.org/stories/these-farmers-are-sowing-seeds-diversity-us-food-system-and-have-been-quite-some-time. If you are a farmer or a market that is intentionally impacting your community, we’d love to feature your work.