Sowing Seeds Abroad: Exploring the Lived Experiences of African Immigrant Farmers in the United States

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2023: $8,074.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2025
Grant Recipient: University of Florida
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Matthew Benge
University of Florida


Not commodity specific


  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, local and regional food systems, quality of life, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    The study explores the lived experiences of African immigrant farmers in the U.S. The number of African immigrants in the U.S. has increased over the years. Although U.S. stakeholders have intensified the integration of African immigrants into U.S. society, African immigrants face food insecurity attributed to a lack of culturally appropriate foods. Accordingly, African immigrant farmers are mushrooming across the U.S. to satisfy the growing demand for culturally appropriate foods.  

    However, like other black farmers in the U.S., African immigrant farmers encounter the existential challenges of race and discrimination inherent within U.S. agriculture which limits their access to vital agricultural inputs, markets, and extension services.

    Nonetheless, the participation of African immigrant farmers in U.S. agriculture could broaden access to healthy and culturally appropriate foods while concurrently bolstering the number of rapidly declining black farmers. Besides, farming could provide a social learning space for infusing different farming practices necessary to revitalize sustainable agriculture. However, limited research has explored the lived experiences of African immigrant farmers despite their intersectional challenges of being black, immigrants, and sometimes women or Muslims.

    Therefore, this study adopts phenomenology to understand the lived experiences of African immigrant farmers. Between eight and ten African immigrant farmers from across the nation will participate in the study. The study will increase awareness of the existence of African immigrant farmers, including their needs, barriers, and opportunities. The study will also stimulate the recalibration of policies and programs in designing, implementing, and evaluating extension systems through a culturally responsive lens.


    Project objectives from proposal:

    The specific objectives of this study are:

    1. To understand what motivates African immigrants to become farmers in the United States.
    2. To explore what the process of becoming a farmer in the U.S. is like for African immigrant farmers.
    3. To understand the challenges African immigrant farmers experience and identity how they address such challenges.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.