Food is the backbone of any society. Right now, during the global Covid-19 crisis, food as the lifeline of the world has become more evident. But when Ark Republic saw growing food insecurities in the US, we wanted to offer a solution.
During Ark Republic’s reporting and analysis from China to Europe, we predicted that food security would be one of the most critical issues in the US. When we discovered the fast-growing food security issues in the country, we wanted to offer a solution rather than continue to report on the problems. One of our answers was to compile a list of Black farmers who farm and can sell directly to consumers immediately.
We selected Black farmers due to an ongoing history of them experiencing the roughest hardships during every economic crisis in the US. In general, Blacks have undergone generations of systemic racism and domestic terror, but agrarian Black communities were the first, and longest to know the various types of economic assault and lack of security, post-Emancipation. In knowing that, we concluded that the most vulnerable and exploited group in the farming industry should be used.
From a practical view, Black farmers understand how to carry out some of the most challenging work with little resources. With the current state of the US, we are in dire need of that type of mastery of knowledge. As a result, Ark Republic reached out to farming networks on several social media platforms, spoke to farmers directly, and conducted extensive research for two weeks.
In our study, we discovered a grave lack of information on Black farms and farmers, which proved to be difficult for our project. According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2017, there were 3.2 million white farmers, but only 45,508 Black-owned farms. Along with their under-representation and financial woes, we discovered that many Black farmers fall within the Baby Boomers generation and have limited access to technology or effective digital literacy skills. Nonetheless, the response was overwhelming by a younger wave of the Black agrarian community who insisted to compile data for them. Due to the strong response, we’ve dedicated a page on our site.
In the Black Farmer’s Index, we offer a region-by-region listing of Black farms. The data is ever-growing, so if you have a farmer to add, we welcome the addition.
Jules Brown, Jr., Intern
Amara Brown, Social Media
Duane Reed, Currency Reporter
Ayanna Shivers, MPH, Researcher
Kaia Shivers, Ph.D. Ark Republic Founder
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