On Juneteenth, HEAL Food Alliance and Union of Concerned Scientists released a policy brief that we at OSA find to be of dire importance to the agricultural sector. The new brief, Leveling the Fields: Creating Farming Opportunities for Black People, Indigenous People, and Other People of Color, describes the policies and societal structures that have excluded black people, indigenous people, and other people of color from shaping the food system in various ways, including access to land, financial resources, and political standing. The brief provides key actions that can be taken to address this longstanding structural injustice and institutional racism.
The organic seed community must be part of addressing and dismantling injustice and racism. Today, tomorrow, and every single day after that.
Farming offers a powerful path to build community wealth and resilience to challenges such as water pollution, droughts and floods, and lack of access to healthy food. However, US agriculture – particularly the pursuit of sustainable agriculture – is rife with obstacles for Black people, indigenous people, and other people of color (BIPOC), including immigrants, migrants, and refugees. These obstacles include difficulty securing capital, credit, land, infrastructure, and information. For these groups, such challenges are compounded by long standing structural and institutional racism. We review opportunities for governments, the private sector, philanthropies, and others to contribute to simultaneously building socioeconomic equity and sustainability in US food systems. To begin overcoming the history of racist policies and exclusion, it is our primary recommendation that solutions be developed by and with – rather than for – Black people, indigenous people, and other people of color.
– Leveling the Fields
The policy brief includes the recommendations below that can be taken by the historically white institutions of government, the private sector, and philanthropies who have benefited from appropriated wealth and must now address this injustice.
- Building land accessibility and security
- Improving access to financial resources
- Advancing the quality and equity of infrastructure and information
- Securing representation and leadership across food systems
Addressing injustice and increasing food system resilience go hand in hand.
The new Leveling the Fields brief is one of several resources that OSA is relying on as we learn the ways in which we can most authentically stand in solidarity with all who are calling for justice and an end to racism. Here’s a list of other resources we’re using and we hope they are helpful to you and your work.
Agriculture specific resources
- National Young Farmers Racial Equity Toolkit from The National Young Farmers Coalition
- Indigenous Ally Toolkit from the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network
- Farming While Black by Leah Penniman
- Race and Food are Intertwined. Here’s How We Can Do Better. from Civil Eats
- Toward a resilient agriculture. The Vision is Easy: Are “We” Willing? keynote address by Ricardo Salvador from Union of Concerned Scientists at the 2019 Green Lands Blue Waters conference. Please note images and topics may trigger some viewers.
Big picture resources for white folx
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice from Medium
- For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies from Sojourners
- Justice in June compiled by Autumn Gupta with Bryanna Wallace’s oversight
- 4 Ways White People Can Process Their Emotions Without Hijacking the Conversation on Racial Justice from The Body is Not An Apology
- Sunday Sermon by Janaya Future Kahn