In an act of reparative justice, Black Food Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Black farmers and food producers in the Pacific Northwest, partnered with Collective Reparations to redistribute $75,000 to 18 Black farmers as a form of redress. Together, they called on local and online community to nominate Black farmers in an innovative social campaign built to engage everyone in the process of reparations.
In recent years, the issue of food justice and the systemic oppression of Black farmers has come to the forefront of national conversations due to the significant decline in the number of Black farmers. According to the USDA, the number of Black farmers in the United States has dropped from a high of nearly 1 million in 1920 to just under 50,000 today. This decline is due to several factors, including discrimination and barriers to accessing land, financing, and resources.
Systemic injustice is one of the many reasons why the Black Food Fund and Collective Reparations have joined forces to offer acknowledgment and redress.
Our partnership is about more than just redistribution of funds, it’s about creating a pathway for Black farmers to build wealth and pass it down to future generations. It’s about redressing a system that wasn’t built for Black bodies. And, as it states on Black Food Fund’s website, it’s about Black folks’ ability to steward and find healing on land.Christopher Rachal, creator of Collective Reparations
The Black Food Fund is grounded in a long history of Black agrarianism. Their work is rooted a powerful legacy of community building and collective struggle guided by Black food systems leaders that came before. By recovering and redistributing capital, they aim to not only provide resources to Black farmers but also support for Black people who are returning and reconnecting with their land-based roots.
Reparative actions like this honor Black food systems ancestors in Portland like Viviane Barnett who’s food systems work paved the way for the current generation of food justice activists through groundbreaking work like the community gardening movement from 1968-1970. We would like to take a moment to acknowledge her powerful voice and legacy for Black Portlanders and the world. Her legacy lives on in many ways including the Viviane Barnett Fellowship, a program by Black Food Sovereignty Coalition, Mudbone Grown and Ecotrust.
In addition to nominating Black farmers, there are other ways that individuals and organizations can take action. This includes supporting and purchasing from Black-owned farms, advocating for policies that support Black farmers, and educating ourselves about the history and current issues facing Black farmers. And you can, of course, shop at Collective Reparations too where 8% of every purchase supports reparations.