BLACK LIVES MATTER
SOLIDARITY FROM THE FARM
FROM COMMUNITY ALLIANCE WITH FAMILY FARMERS
Like many of you, we at CAFF have been gripped by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement and the ensuing protests in support of Black lives. His murder is just the most recent instance of racial injustice that has plagued this country since its inception. And our agricultural communities are not immune.
It’s no coincidence that of the almost one billion acres of agricultural land in America, less than 2% is owned by people of color. A decline from 14% in 1920. These numbers reflect not only the lasting consequences of a food and farming system built upon slavery and exploitation, but a history of violence, intimidation and broken promises. Today, government resources designed to help struggling businesses during the pandemic still fail to reach many entrepreneurs of color while many of the immigrants who make our farms function find themselves left out of relief programs. This tradition of inequitable aid is nothing new and in fact history has shown that flawed economic recovery efforts in the past have only reinforced racial disparities.
While many of our more rural farms might feel far removed from the turmoil, we believe that opposing racism is necessary if we are to address these inequities in our farming system. Black people are by no means the only folks who suffer in the food and agriculture system, but acknowledging that our farming system has been established at the expense of Black labor and life and working to seek justice in all sectors of American society will help to unearth the root causes of this injustice.
We at CAFF stand with the protesters and wholeheartedly believe that law enforcement must do better. That our justice system must do better. And that white-led organizations like CAFF that have previously shied away from bold statements like this must do better. In order to make progress we all must challenge ourselves, our comforts, and our habits to begin working towards a justice that serves all people. This fight is long and things will not change overnight, however it is our moral obligation to work in service to this struggle for Black lives.
As a farmer-serving organization, we encourage you to check out–and donate to–these black-led organizations working to support black farmers in California:
- Fresno Freedom School
- Farms to Grow
- African American Farmers of California
- West Fresno Family Resource Center
- The Butterfly Movement
- Communities United Restoring Mother Earth