Since the end of Reconstruction, following the Civil War, many black farmers have felt the twin pressures of hardship and neglect, reinforced by systematic discrimination from government agencies and financial institutions. The Center for American Progress, a left-leaning policy institute, issued a recent report advocating for policy changes to correct those inequities, many of which it says remain today. (No paywall)
In Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, Monica M. White, assistant professor of environmental justice at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, traces the history of black land-based social movements from the time of slavery to today’s urban gardens in Rust Belt cities. (No paywall)
Leah Penniman is co-director and program manager of the 72-acre Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, which is dedicated to training a new generation of black, brown, and indigenous farmers while working to dismantle racism and injustice in the food system. Her new book, “Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land,” is a first-of-its-kind guide for farmers of color. (No paywall)
A new bill in California aims to better support the state’s minority and female farmers. The Farmer Equity Act of 2017 “applies to producers that have been federally classified as ‘socially disadvantaged,’ which includes people in groups whose members have been subject to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice,” says Civil Eats.
Poor children growing up in three out of four rural counties — especially in the Great Plains — are more likely to earn more than the national average by the age of 26 than their counterparts in cities, says a national study by Stanford economist Raj Chetty. Just 29 percent of kids in densely populated urban centers earn more than the national average as adults.
President Trump’s nominee for USDA chief scientist described black leaders as “race traders” and called President Obama a “Maoist” in blogs produced a few years ago in conjunction with a radio talk show aimed at conservatives, said CNN. Clovis was co-chair of Trump’s presidential campaign, Trump’s liaison with farm groups and, since January, the White House’s chief political operative at USDA.
The L.A. Times has named its first-ever Restaurant of the Year, but it didn’t go to the usual high-end suspects. Instead Locol — a burger restaurant started by renowned chefs to serve customers in Watts, where unemployment and gang violence are rampant — is the winner.
In FERN’s latest story, with KQED’s California Report, reporter Lisa Morehouse returned with some of the survivors of Japanese-American internment camps and their relatives to the Lake Tule camp in Northern California, where 15,000 Japanese-Americans, many of them farmers, were forced to grow food for the U.S. government. Understandably, many Japanese-Americans were deeply troubled by President Trump’s announcements of a refugee ban and suggestion of a Muslim registry.
Whether it's paleo meal kits or pea-based condiments, some of the country’s leading food-tech entrepreneurs and investors shared their thoughts on the future of sustainable food at FERN Talk & Eats in Silicon Valley.