We at Organic Growers School have been processing the recent actions of white supremacist mobs in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, and those who encouraged them. As part of our commitment to social justice, we see it as our responsibility to speak up, to not be silent, and shine a light on the ways in which these and other actions perpetuate and reflect systemic inequities that result in injustice.
We see the need to look at both this particular occurrence and how it is connected to the discomfort and oftentimes unwillingness of many of us to dig deeper and face some hard truths that are alive and well in our country, specifically the delusional belief of white supremacy.
Farming and food systems are our areas of influence, and we know that in the past century farming has become a predominantly white occupation in the US. As USDA loans were denied to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) farmers, and land was stolen by means of rigged legal loopholes and violence, many Black farmers lost their homes, land, and livelihoods. The article This Land Was Our Land from The Atlantic details stories of Black farmers, and states “A war waged by deed of title has dispossessed 98 percent of black agricultural landowners in America.”
As Organic Growers School is a predominantly white organization, it is important for us to be educated about, and work at, the intersection of farming, food production, and systemic racism. It is also important to see the intersection of the actions of violent white supremacists, and the government’s response to them. It is clear that the reaction of law enforcement was less brutal than their reactions have been to Black Lives Matter protesters, and to how they would have responded if it had been Black bodies attacking the Capitol. We see these same trends in agriculture, where there are higher rates of land foreclosure on black farmers than white farmers, compounded by the generational theft of land and loss of agency due to intentional violence and government policy.
The violence, and the support of it, is indicative of how far certain people are willing to go to maintain white supremacy, and to maintain the existing structures and systems that perpetuate racism and racially inequitable outcomes. If we are complicit and silent, those insurgents and supporters of insurgents could become even more of a threat to our freedom.
Organic Growers School is committed to work against injustice and to making change in the places we influence. Education is our work, with the goal of a just, equitable society.
Please stay tuned as we continue to explore the ways we can educate, be educated, and center the voices of historically marginalized farmers and growers. We will be sharing more information soon about our upcoming CRAFT Winter Roundtables. These Roundtables will be virtual “White Farmer Caucuses” to support white farmers in examining systemic racism, and working to change those systems.
To learn more about OGS and our journey towards being an organization committed to social justice, visit the social justice blogs we’ve posted.
Author: Carrie Moran
Carrie Moran is the Conference & Communications Coordinator. She holds a Masters of Library and Information Science from Drexel University, and her professional background is in the world of academic libraries. During her library career, she focused on using empathetic user experience design methods to create safe spaces for people to learn, both in person and online. In addition to her work at OGS, she is co-owner of Harmonize Your Health, a holistic wellness company whose mission is to introduce their community and clients to a variety of healing modalities that are aligned with respect for our bodies and this beautiful planet we live on.