The Story of the Demise of the Black Farmers


Tiny - Posted on 22 April 2014

Author: 
Queenandi X / PNN Correspondent

April 21, 2014

Those who walked this earth long before capitalism, and long before whyte non-supremacy waged war on Mother Earth and her indigenous nations, we had an obligation to tend to MaMa’s sacred soil and to produce plenty of food with her blessings. The deliberate destruction of her soil; the poisoning of our food (by Monsanto) with the intent to “muscle” the masses into buying frankenfood; and the blatant, racist system that discriminated against Black Farmers and other farmers of color for decades, all go hand-in-hand.

In the 1920’s 1 in every 7 farmers was black. In the 1980’s 1 in every 67 was black. In the early 1900’s, black farmers owned about 15 million acres of land altogether. In the 1980’s black farmers owned a little over 3 million acres of farmland. In the 1980's African-Descendant farmers received only 1% of all farmer ownership and soil and water conservation loans given; they received only 2.5% of all farm operation loans. All complaints of racial discrimination about financial support fell upon deaf ears when the Regan administration closed the doors to the USDA’s civil rights office in 1982. The 1.3 billion dollar USDA loan fund for farmers to buy land was a joke also, with only 209 Black farmers receiving the funding.

Regardless of the re-opening of the USDA’s civil rights office under former-president Clinton and the new regulations by the Farmer’s Home Administration (FMHA) to regulate unfair and unjust lending practices, all farmers of color saw little change and relief.

A lawsuit was filed by The Black Farmers for discrimination, winning a share of the $1.25 billion dollar settlement fund that was finally approved by Federal Judge Friedman in 2011. Although it seems as if the racial discrimination barrier was broken when The Black Farmers finally won a slice of the pie, a lot of discrimination claims are still being denied unjustly.

Despite the devastating decline of black farmers, there has been a rise in community gardens. We at POOR Magazine believe in interdependence, in spite of racist laws that create barriers to self-determinated care of MaMa Earth's soil and reaping the bounties of her produce. Gardens such as the Trayvon Martin Garden and the Ujamaa Village in Oakland get people fresh, non-GMO food without spending their whole paychecks. They are beautiful examples of both taking care of and providing for our own communities, and also of keeping our profits circulating in our own hoods. What I love and appreciate is the fact that the community is together: the young and the elder are contributing “sweat equity” into planting and growing food as a unified tribe should.

We shall no more allow for our oppressors to dictate to us our basic human right to be fruitful and multiply here on Mother Earth. The days of the wealth hoarders and land thieves are coming to an end, with the rise of the community black farmers once again.

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