- Education and Training: extension, mentoring, networking
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development
- Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, analysis of personal/family life, community services, social capital, social networks, sustainability measures
The proposed project is centered on sustainable development activities for a set of Southern Black agricultural communities that were created during the Great Depression, initially under the direction of the Resettlement Administration and subsequently under the Farm Security Administration. These and related agencies provided an opportunity for landless sharecroppers and tenants to own land. This opportunity allowed the "settlers" to become small independent farmers (a Jeffersonian ideal) and form independent agricultural communities (a Booker T. Washington ideal). Thirteen such all-Black communities were established, about half of which remain as viable communities--although they are "at risk." The others have faded, although both archival records and original residents remain to tell their story.
Using six of these communities (Tillery, NC; Prairie Farms, AL, Mileston, MS; Flint River Farms; GA; Allendale Farms, SC; and Aberdeen Gardens, VA) a sustainable economic development strategy and training meeting will be convened at the host Resettlement Community of Aberdeen Gardens in Hampton, VA. Community participation will ensure that this training will lead to site-specific community development plans and activities.
Results of the training will be based on the activities initiated by the participating communities. Planned activities include submission of grant applications, community meetings, organizing and community-based activities. In addition, results may be presented at professional meetings and symposia and published in local media and professional journals.
The principal cooperators are selected representatives of the participating communities and the George Washington Carver Agricultural Experiment Station at Tuskegee University. The proposed project will take approximately one year.
Project objectives from proposal:
The objectives of this project will carry forward work already begun in the Resettlement Community development activities of August 2006. The objectives are:
To provide sustainable economic and community development skills to selected African American communities created during the New Deal Era.
To provide these communities with strategies so that they can best utilize the resources (natural, social/cultural and economic) inherent in their communities.
To provide these communities with strategies to access resources (local, regional and national) to address issues critical to sustainable development.