We should consider how our food, the way its produced, where it’s produced, and who we buy it from contributes to the historical barriers set up in this country. We should always be thinking on these questions, but especially today, Martin Luther King Day. While the problems of the food system and the disenfranchisement of farmers of color do not happen just one day a year, this day serves as a marker in the wider world to refocus on the justices we have achieved and how far we still need to come to bring farmers of color to the equal position they deserve. On this day, to refocus the land access and young farmers movements toward inclusivity and representation of the total agricultural community in this country, Agrarian Trust would like to highlight the the work of Food First. For the last 40 years, Food First has lived their motto of exploring myths and inspiring change by bringing the spotlight to farming communities often left out of its beam. Here are some resources we enjoyed most to help jump start your background knowledge of farmers of color in the US and the individuals and movements leading the charge in this age of new food policy.
Backgrounder: Dismantling Racism in the Food System, Introduction to the series by Breeze Harper and Eric Holt-Giménez
Decolonize Your Diet: Notes Towards Decolonization, by Catrióna Rueda Esquibel
Black Agrarianism: Resistance, by Dãnia C. Davy, Edward “Jerry” Pennick, Savonala Horne and Tracy Lloyd McCurty
Race and Corporate Power in the US Food System: Examining the Farm Bill, by Elsadig Elsheikh
More Than a Bingo Hall: A Story of Mashpee Land, Food, and Sovereignty, by Hartman Deetz
You can learn more about Food First and their active work around the country here. We hope that you use the resources provided here to understand the context of the future of farming and start conversations to make sure that land security and access for all farmers is guaranteed in perpetuity for all. You can also see Food First’s Executive Director, Eric Holt-Gimenez’s talk at AT’s Our Land 2 conference on the struggle for land justice here.
Happy Martin Luther King Day from Agrarian Trust!