All of us at Organic Seed Alliance are outraged by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other black Americans who have fallen victim to police brutality and senseless murder. We stand in solidarity with the black community and protesters who are calling for justice and an end to racism.
OSA is committed to co-creating a future that is just and anti-racist. We hold firm to our organizational values, which include a commitment to “the equitable treatment of all individuals and equitable rights for all.” We are committed to the internal and collaborative work of centering black and brown peoples’ voices, ingenuity, and leadership in the organic seed movement.
We are grateful for the many resources that Leah Penniman at Soul Fire Farm has shared on racism, including this recent show. We echo this call from National Farmers Union to address racism and encourage everyone in U.S. sustainable and organic agriculture to read the Leveling the Fields policy brief put out by HEAL Food Alliance and Union of Concerned Scientists. And we encourage everyone to take action in their own communities by following the lead of The Movement for Black Lives and Black Lives Matter.
U.S. agriculture is built on stolen land, stolen seed, and the labor of stolen people. These racist actions and policies are not left behind in history – they are perpetuated daily in our fields and institutions. We must do better. We must be better – as humans and as seed stewards. And we must reckon with this history honestly if we are going to reverse its effects.
Organic Seed Alliance is committed to raising the voices of leaders in anti-racism work. We are committed to listening to and taking actions with our friends, organizations, and leaders who are doing this work in the agriculture community.
Here is what we’re doing right now:
- Generating resources and forums for conversation to continue the work that took place during the Seed Ethics Intensive and track at the 2020 Organic Seed Growers Conference.
- Institutionalizing anti-racist work with our staff and board of directors so we can be true allies for seed communities who have been historically underserved.
- Listening to and learning from communities of color doing seed work so we can understand how they need us to show up, if at all.
We know the work never ends, just like seed work. It takes commitment, education, thoughtfulness, strategy, partnership, and a willingness to act imperfectly. Seed represents hope for the future, and we believe in a future where seed systems are ethical. Achieving this vision is only possible if we dismantle the racism perpetuated in our policies, institutions, cultural norms, and personal behaviors, to create space for justice, reconciliation, and visionary leadership. It’s time for deep work and real change.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.