Reparations: Week #7 – Wednesday 12/9
The food system was built on the stolen land and stolen labor of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and people of color.
– Soul Fire Farm, from their google reparations map
As a white, privileged farmer, the statement above is something I must grapple with. And in fact, anyone who buys food from a grocery store (all of us!) should too.
The statement is true. Our history books and food advertisers don’t want us to think about its truth. And for many of us, it’s just easier not to, because it’s a horrible truth and one many of us feel powerless to do anything about.
Some small farmers and organizations around the country are starting to do something about this: reparations.
The Oxford online dictionary defines reparations as “the making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged.”
Reparations has an easy learning curve to get involved: give money to projects led by and for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and people of color (BILAPOC) to buy land and grow food.
Soul Fire Farm is a rising voice in the farm community surrounding the intersections of racial and food justice. They are innovative and so very generous with materials that help farmers learn and begin to work towards change. One of their many resources is a reparations google map. Here, BILAPOC farmers can list their projects directly and ask people to fund them. Check it out: Soul Fire Reparations Map!
A Wisconsin-based project you may have heard about is 40 Acres and a Mule. Headed by chef Adrian Lipscombe, the project is raising money to buy agricultural land in the driftless area of Wisconsin.
These projects are so very inspiring. Just recently I was on a call with other farmers (a predominately white group), and the idea of a reparations fee was discussed. Perhaps as farmers, we should be adding a reparations ‘tax’ or ‘fee’ onto our shares and passing this money onto BILAPOC reparations projects. I think it’s a fantastic idea!
My winter farmer mind is rolling around this idea and others. I am in conversation right now with our software peeps to figure out whether/how to add this to our purchasing process. Might it push away some potential farm members? Yes. Does that mean I should be quiet about the issue? No.
I’ll be sure to keep you posted on what we decide. In the meantime, I do hope you’ll check out the reparations projects listed above!