Black Farmers Index started as a project launched by Ark Republic on April 14, 2020. Because of the overwhelmig response from the public during the George Floyd protests and the Juneteenth, it organically involved into its own identity. In July 2020, we became a non-profit organization. Our 501 c3 status is pending.
The Back Story
Food is the backbone of any society. During the global Covid-19 crisis, food as the lifeline of the world has become more evident. But when online news outlet, Ark Republic saw growing food insecurities in the US, they wanted to offer a solution.
During Ark Republic’s reporting and analysis from China to Europe, they predicted that food security would be one of the most critical issues in the US. When they discovered the fast-growing food security issues in the country, they wanted to offer a solution rather than continue to report on the problems. One of their answers was to compile a list of Black farmers who could sell directly to consumers immediately.
They 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 the first wave of data gathering, they 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, Black Farmers Index was birthed as it's own entity. It became a non-profit organization in July 2020. Now it is a sister organization to Ark Republic.
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.
Amara Brown, Community Engagement
Duane Reed, Data Entry
Ayanna Shivers, MPH, Researcher
Yolanda Aguilera, Media Relations
Kaia Shivers, Ph.D. Black Farmers Index Founder + Ark Republic Editor-in-Chief
Interns + Apprentices
Kjersten Jacson, Apprentice
Asenath Alexander (former)
Jules Brown, Jr., Intern (former)
Ailani Brown, Intern (former)
Water the seeds to nurture our needs. What your donation fuels. Black Farmers Index and Ark Republic solidified a partnership to split our donations. Both of our organizations are Black-women led. Your donation today goes to two powerful, creative social ventures.
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