Our Black Lives Matter Message
We’ve had some responses about our Black Lives Matter message, and in the spirit of education we would like to share the most common one. This question has come from a handful of people in various iterations; unsubscribing from our newsletter, aggressive emails, social media comments. The inquiry is framed in various ways but it gets at the same message: “I am not interested in your politics. Why are you getting political”
So here’s why: at OGS, we know space is political; no one exists outside of a political reality. Due to our ongoing internal dialog about white supremacy culture in our personal and professional lives, it’s been a long time since we’ve asked ourselves “What does racial equity have to do with sustainable agriculture?” However, we know it was initially a hard leap to make for our mostly white organization. And it’s a hard leap for some of our audience still. Let’s break it down.
Perspectives from Farmers
Kendrick Ransome at Golden Organic Farm says: “Edgecombe County where I live and farm is almost 60% black; the poverty rate is 24%. I grow food for my community, and the political impacts of the economy effect the accessibility of fresh food directly. 98% of farm owners in the United States are non-black, due to inequitable access to land and trauma that has forced my ancestors off the land and discouraged my cousins from returning. My existence as a black farmer is political. Your existence as a white farmer is too.”
Joe Evans, at Fallow Ground here in WNC says: “As a white farmer and property owner, I acknowledge my privilege and recognize the opportunities I have been undeservedly given because of the color of my skin. Equality is an often overlooked aspect of sustainable agriculture. We claim crop diversity but fail to hold up farmers of color who are doing the real work … We must do better.”
The Real Question
When you consider the voices of our farmers on the ground, you realize that the real question is, “How can you be in sustainable agriculture and NOT talk about racism?” Let’s shift the dialog from WHY we’re speaking up to HOW we can show up for our black and brown community members.