The Black Lives Matter movement has made a national issue of the fact that racial minorities are disproportionately impacted by police violence and similar problems rampant in the US criminal justice system. Now farms in upstate New York and elsewhere throughout the country are beginning to center their activism around their agricultural endeavors to raise awareness on these issues.
The largest source of mortality for African Americans and other racial minorities today isn’t guns or violence, but rather diet-related illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The black farmers that played a substantial role in providing food and other essentials to civil rights workers in the 1960s can continue to do so by linking healthful food with social justice.
Soul Fire Farm, a sustainable farm near Albany New York is presently working with its county’s Department of Law in a restorative justice program that will allow teens convicted of theft to develop agricultural skills on the farm and pay back the victims of their crimes in lieu of imprisonment.
Another black farmer, Jalal Sabur, began Freedom Food Alliance, a network of farmers, political prisoners and justice rights advocates in upstate New York. The organization has begun the Victory Bus Project, a program that packages and sells food from local farmers while arranging trips for families to visit their loved ones who are incarcerated.
Sarah Henry, “This Farmer Wants to Help Youth of Color Reconnect With the Land,” civileats.com, December 2, 2014, http://civileats.com/2014/12/02/this-farmer-wants-to-help-youth-of-color-reconnect-with-the-land/.
Leah Penniman, “Radical Farmers Use Fresh Food to Fight Racial Injustice and the New Jim Crow.” YES! Magazine, 28 January 28, 2015. 2015, http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/radical-farmers-use-fresh-food-fight-racial-injustice-black-lives-matter.
Student Researcher: Ashley Moss (Florida Atlantic University)
Faculty Evaluator: James F. Tracy (Florida Atlantic University)