Supporting BIPOC, and Disadvantaged Farming Populations
Our Cultivating Success program aims to support Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and Disadvantaged farming populations by subsidizing the cost of consulting services. We understand that farming can be a challenging and complex industry. We believe that providing access to consulting can help improve the productivity and success of minority farmers, especially in impoverished communities.
Disadvantaged farmers worldwide face numerous challenges in producing food for their communities. Limited access to land, water, and capital resources often leads to lower yields and decreased productivity. Additionally, these farmers may also face discrimination, political instability, and climate change impacts that further exacerbate their difficulties.
Countries with limited access to locally grown food and high malnutrition and starvation rates can be particularly impacted by the challenges faced by disadvantaged farmers. In these countries, access to locally grown, fresh produce is often limited, leading to a reliance on imported food that can be expensive and of lower nutritional value.
Acknowledgment from Joe Pate, Founder of Regen Aquaculture
I grew up in poverty, in a food desert with limited access to healthy fresh produce. I have seen firsthand how poverty and access to resources can influence generations, and yet I acknowledge that being a white male in one of the poorest communities in Kentucky, I had predefined privileges which have made my transition of economic status easier than it is for others.
My family first sailed to the new world on the Mayflower, and for over 400 years, we have had the opportunity to build wealth; while that wealth never made it to my hands, we existed in a system that allowed us to go to school unhindered, and experience aspects of life not granted to the black indigenous and people of color throughout the history of the U.S.
I don’t know if my bloodline has murdered indigenous people or driven them from their lands or if we have ever participated in human trafficking. However, I still know the possibility exists, and regardless of the matter, I am here while many others are not.
In my immediate life, I have always tried to create a space of love, support, and belonging that embraces all the uniqueness of humans. However, Institutionalized racism has not stopped, and as a white male, I have undoubtedly benefited from that.
I believe efforts to support the success of disadvantaged farmers, such as our Cultivating Success Program, can positively impact these communities by improving access to locally grown, fresh produce and supporting the economic growth of farmers.
Black Farmers in the US
The history of Black farmers in the United States is long and complicated. Dating back to slavery, Black people were forcibly brought to America and forced to work as agricultural laborers. Even after emancipation, Black farmers faced numerous challenges and obstacles to land ownership and success in agriculture.
During the Reconstruction era, Black farmers could acquire land through various means, such as the Homestead Act of 1862, which provided land to settlers willing to farm for five years. However, many Black farmers faced discrimination from local governments, white landowners, and financial institutions, making it difficult to acquire and maintain land ownership. Discrimination and violence from white supremacist groups also threatened the livelihoods of Black farmers, leading many to flee their homes or be forced off their land.
In the early 20th century, federal policies such as the New Deal and the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) further disadvantaged Black farmers. The AAA provided subsidies to farmers who reduced their crop production, which led to the forced removal of millions of Black farmers from their land. Additionally, Black farmers were often excluded from government programs that provided loans, technical assistance, and other forms of support to white farmers.
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s brought attention to the systemic discrimination faced by Black farmers, leading to the creation of federal programs such as the Minority Farmers Program, which aimed to provide assistance and support to socially disadvantaged farmers. However, these programs have often been underfunded and inadequate, and many Black farmers continue to face challenges such as lack of access to credit, difficulty accessing markets, and discrimination from government agencies.
According to the USDA, the number of black farmers in the U.S. has decreased drastically. In 1920, over 925,000 black farmers comprised 14% of all farmers. However, by 2017, that number had decreased to just over 35,000, representing only 1.3% of all farmers.
This decline can be attributed to various factors, including discriminatory lending practices, a lack of access to resources and markets, and the overall trend toward consolidation in the agricultural industry. The discrimination and inequality faced by Black farmers have contributed to a loss of land, a decline in the number of Black farmers, and a loss of cultural heritage and traditional knowledge. Black farmers have contributed significantly to agriculture and their communities despite these challenges.
Efforts are being made to address these issues. However, much work remains to be done to address the legacy of discrimination and ensure that Black farmers have equal access to opportunities and resources in American agriculture.
Not All Disadvantaged Farmers are People of Color
Growing up in a poor community in Kentucky and traveling throughout the Appalachian region of the US, I have seen generations of people left to be forgotten. These impoverished communities are, in my eyes, disadvantaged farmers. After being a part of these communities, I do not believe it is right to ignore them or others like them worldwide.
History of Appalachian Farming in the US
The Appalachian region of the United States is located in the eastern part of the country, encompassing all or parts of 13 states, including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Historically, the people who have lived in this region are known as Appalachian farmers.
Appalachian farmers have a long history dating back to the colonial era when European settlers first arrived. They have traditionally relied on small-scale subsistence farming, raising crops and livestock for their own consumption and local markets. These farmers developed a unique culture and way of life that revolved around the region’s land and natural resources.
Despite their long history and contributions to American agriculture, Appalachian farmers have faced significant disadvantages over the years. One major disadvantage has been their isolation from mainstream markets and transportation infrastructure. The region’s rugged terrain, poor roads, and limited access to major transportation networks have made it difficult for farmers to sell their products outside of the region or access important inputs like fertilizer and seed.
Another major disadvantage has been the region’s lack of government support and investment. Appalachian farmers have often struggled to access the same resources and assistance programs available to farmers in other parts of the country. This has made it difficult for them to compete with larger, well-funded operations and adapt to changing market conditions.
Additionally, Appalachian farmers have been disproportionately affected by economic and environmental changes over the years. For example, the decline of the coal industry in the region has had a major impact on the local economy, and many farmers have been forced to abandon their farms and seek other forms of employment. Environmental factors, such as soil erosion and water pollution, have also had a significant impact on the productivity of Appalachian farmland.
In recent years, efforts have been made to support and promote Appalachian agriculture through initiatives like local food movements and sustainable farming practices. However, there is still a long way to go to ensure that Appalachian farmers receive the support and resources they need to thrive and contribute to American agriculture.
Our Cultivating Success program is open to the entire world. To be eligible for this program, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Identify as a Black, Indigenous, Person of Color, or Disadvantaged farmer
- An Educational institution that supports Black, Indigenous, Person of Color, or Disadvantaged farmer
- Intend to provide local food in an impoverished community
The program will cover a portion of the consulting fees for eligible applicants. This can include:
- One-on-one consulting services
- Assistance with business planning
- Educational workshops
- Recommendations for improving farming techniques
To apply for the program, eligible farmers must:
- Complete the application form, which includes basic personal information and details about their farming operation
- Provide proof of their farming license or permit when/if applicable
- Submit a brief statement explaining how the consulting services will benefit their farming operation
A team of experienced consultants will manage the program. The team will review all applications and make decisions based on eligibility criteria and the potential impact of the consulting services on the farming operation.
We will seek grants and donations from various sources to fund this program, including government agencies, private foundations, and individuals. We will subsidize the cost of additional fees.
We are not a non-profit but a socially and environmentally responsible organization. While not required, we offer transparency over the money going to and from this program. All budgetary items can be found in the Cultivating Success Program Annual Budget.
We believe that this program will make a positive impact on the success and productivity of Disadvantaged populations. By providing access to consulting services, we hope to help farmers overcome the challenges they face and thrive in the industry.
We welcome feedback from our applicants and participants. If you have any suggestions or concerns about the program, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We are committed to continuously improving and refining our program better to serve the needs of disadvantaged farmers.
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