Black Farmers

When I’ve  discussed the idea  Scattergood Friends School and Farm as a community that must include people who are not white, white people sometimes question whether people of color would even want to live and work on a farm.

I am not someone who immediately brings up white privilege, but if you had the choice of trying to create a garden in the middle of the city, with contaminated soil, air and sometimes even water,  versus on a piece of land in rural Iowa, do you think you would make a different choice depending on your skin color?

This is from an NPR interview with black framer John Boyd, Jr., who is the founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association.

He does begin by discussing some of the historical negatives associated with blacks and farming:  “We all came from the farm. That’s why we were brought to this country as black people. We were brought to work the land and clean up the South for scotch-free as slaves.

That’s why it has a negative impact. And it’s because of the bad stigma that we’ve had because of sharecropping, because of slavery. Our people — black people — die from everything. Heart attack, stroke, obesity. And it’s from the foods that we’re eating.”

But then he says, “I think if we got reconnected with the farm, everything would be better. I would like to see our people go back to land ownership — get back to communities where we came from and really start doing some positive things.”

 

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