Patchwork Initiative

Community Farm Alliance’s Patchwork Initiative was launched in 2020 as a mission-based strategy that utilizes CFA’s Theory of Change to provide resources for community engagement, program development, policy and advocacy, and equity building to build a comprehensive support system for Kentucky’s farmers of color. CFA approaches this as a collaborative strategy, working with stakeholders in the food system including the farm community, federal, state and local government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector.

Community Farm Alliance (CFA) will be working in close coordination with project partners Black Soil, Kentucky State University (KSU), the Organic Association of Kentucky (OAK), the Kentucky Horticulture Council (KHC), and the larger network of Kentucky farm support organizations these organizations are connected to, and will be implemented statewide, including in 73 Persistent Poverty Communities and 144 Opportunity Zones. In alignment with the objectives and priorities of the 2501 grants program, Patchwork Initiative will undertake a multi-tiered and holistic approach to increasing the long-term profitability and sustainability of Kentucky’s socially disadvantaged existing and new farming enterprises. Led by an advisory council composed of farmers of color, BIPOC, and other disadvantaged farmers, the project team will implement the following as part of this overarching goal:

1) Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment of black farmer assets, challenges and
opportunities to pinpoint the specific met and unmet needs of Kentucky’s farmers of color

2) Create a holistic Support System:
o Development of statewide strategic enterprise-based plan for tailored technical assistance,
workshops, outreach, and future programming through a broad base of Kentucky NGOs,
Institutions, and federal and state agencies .
o Actively assisting socially disadvantaged farmers in owning and operating successful farms
and ranches.
o Identify metrics to track implementation and ongoing progress of the strategic plan.
o Improving participation within USDA programs, by better connecting socially
disadvantaged farmers to USDA resources and certifications

3) Implement a comprehensive Communication plan that:
o Utilizing the voices of impacted farmers of color to increase the visibility and awareness of
the vital and vibrant contributions of socially disadvantaged farmers to agriculture in
Kentucky, through a multi-organizational communications and marketing strategy.

4) Create a Kentucky Farmer of Color Capital Fund:
o Based on the Kentucky Black Farmer Fund, the KFOCF will expand funding through grants
and loans to socially disadvantaged farmers with minimum application and reporting
o Utilize the fund to leverage additional KADF and private philanthropy

Current Projects under the Patchwork Initiative:

Mattie Mack Farmer Fund

Mattie Mack

COVID-19 created opportunities and challenges for all small-scale farmers. For Black farmers, these new demands were piled onto existing challenges, stemming from systemic historical inequities.

Farm Aid offered funds for COVID relief, then CFA added funds and facilitated a fundraising campaign to create the Kentucky Black Farmer Fund, adding funds from Just Transition, Foundation for Appalachian Ky, Gates Foundation and Luther Mason memorial.  $75,899.75 was raised. The name of the fund was changed to the Mattie Mack Farmer Fund in 2023. Starting with Juneteenth 2023, the Fund advisors aim to raise $30,000 for a new round of support for Kentucky’s farmers of color.

Kentucky Black Farmers Conference

The Annual Kentucky Black Farmer’s Conference is a gathering of farmers and community leaders of color that features guest speakers, breakout sessions, good food, and plenty of networking opportunities.

Blacker Berries: Farmer of Color Story Project

Welcome to the Blacker Berries CFA Podcast Series! In this series our interviewer Von Barnes will be having conversations with farmers of color from across the Bluegrass State! Our goal is to share their stories and help to connect them to a larger network of fellow farmers and opportunities within the local food community of Kentucky.

Kentucky Black Farmer Needs Assessment

Within the many conversations between farmers and Kentucky’s local food systems we have continued to discover the gaps in the resources, communication and support for Black farmers, exclusively. This assessment is designed to better equip ourselves and other organizations with the tools to better connect with our Kentucky Black farmers.