- Education and Training: participatory research, technical assistance
- Production Systems: organic certification
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, quality of life
USDA NASS Census (2017) estimated that of the 3,399,834 famers in the US, about 48,697 identified as Black, 79,198 as Native American, 25,310 as Asian, and 112,451 as Hispanic farmers. These represent BIPOC (Black Indigenous people and people of color) farming population numbers many who are alienated from the sustainable agriculture and organic movement - and benefits to their local farms, environments, food sovereignty, food systems, and communities. Often these populations are called underserved because they have lacked the same intentional access and have not benefited from support systems that enable thriving livelihoods, or increases in participation in land ownership, USDA programs or trainings, and financial support and resources that support growing resilient environments, local healthy food systems, and healthy communities, and well-being (Akerman, 2013).
The International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) is dedicated to training farmers around the world using a systems approach developed by the international organic farming community. The strategies incorporate the practices of Health, Ecology, Fairness and Care into today’s restricted-materials certified organic farming criteria, adding value and benefits to sustainable agriculture and sustainable organic agriculture food systems, with positive impacts in supporting healthy communities.
A central focus of Organic 3.0 is a system of organic farming centered around building communities, healthy people, and sustainability with greater economic stability and equality. This is an important message today and can help share the benefits of organic farming systems to every community.
In response to the needs of American BIPOC farmers, our Project developed a participatory, in-depth educational experience that values Black, Indigenous farmers and Farmers of Color and their communities as a welcomed culture with rich historic connections to the land. It values the critical role and voice of BIPOC farmers in organic agriculture and their critical role as essential service providers in local communities and the American sustainable agriculture marketplace.
The Organic for All Project’s participatory training and education efforts are designed to build capacity within the BIPOC community for farmers to grow healthy farming systems using organic-agroecology farm practices, and increase knowledge of organic certification and organic standards. We will implement participatory workshops with individuals and organizations— both on site and using distance-learning tools.
This SSARE Education Project would assist, equip, and empower BIPOC farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, underserved small farmers and their communities in sustainable agriculture organic farming systems practices and alternative marketing strategies. We will incorporate integrated distance learning and hands-on trainings, with participatory relevant learning sessions with BIPOC farming communities in regions across the Southern United States, which will be made available throughout the country— benefiting farmers and society as a whole.
Project objectives from proposal:
The Organic for All Project will equip, empower, and provide access with socially disadvantaged farmers, Black Indigenous farmers and farmers of color, underserved small farmers and their communities in specific critical areas, sustainable ag organic farming systems, and existing resources towards the goal of advancing sustainable agriculture in the Southern Region, by:
- Partnering and engaging with small farmers, socially disadvantaged farmer groups and BIPOC farmers and farmer organizations - to provide critical participatory learning experiences, hands-on trainings, and technical assistance; to increase in relevant areas, and farm sustainability/thrivability, support resilient organic livelihoods, sustainable ag organic farming practices, healthy food systems, healthy communities and wellbeing.
- Enabling BIPOC farmer participation and access to the organic marketplace.
- Partnering and engaging farmers with Community Collaborators and Land Grant Institutions.
- Extending the benefits of sustainable and organic farming systems, agroecology farm practices to: socially disadvantaged farmers and their communities, BIPOC farmers, underserved small farm populations, including all communities.
- Developing a narrative with video documentation, infographic resources and farmer’s own stories about what they learned and which practices of their own changed as a result of participating in the project.
- Providing an alternative pathway for engaging our target populations and their communities in sustainable ag organic farming practices to enable the benefits in all communities in the southern region.