Organic Consumers Association

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A Reparations Map for Farmers of Color May Help Right Historical Wrongs

In an effort to address centuries of systemic racism, a new online tool seeks to connect Black, brown, and Indigenous farmers with land and resources.

When Leah Penniman and her family founded Soul Fire Farm, in Petersburg, New York in 2011, they had a vision of a multi-racial, sustainable farming organization that would run food sovereignty programs with the goal of ending racism and injustice in the food system.

To achieve these goals, Soul Fire Farm offers training to Black and brown farmers, activism retreats, food justice education, subsidized food distribution, and, as of February, is leading a movement of Black farmers who are calling for reparations for centuries of slavery, systemic racism, and racial inequity in the U.S.

“If African-American people [had been] paid $20 per week for our agricultural labor rather than being enslaved, we would have trillions in the bank today,” Penniman says. She adds that those numbers don’t include the many other ways Black and brown people have been excluded from the tools that have allowed white people to succeed for centuries, such as access to crediteducation, and home ownership opportunities.

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