June 16, 2020
We recognize that until now, Community Farm Alliance has been silent on the current events. As Kentucky mourns the unjust loss of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, we know how imperative it is for us to figure out what it actually looks like to shift power and stand in solidarity with Black communities. Black Lives Matter.
We are living in a moment where we are called to address and bring attention to 400 years of systemic inequities in this country. Current events are showing us that we are living with systems and institutions that have not been working for all of us.
This is something that Community Farm Alliance pays close attention to because we have been working to lift up the voices of small family farmers, challenge systems that don’t work for the people, and shift power to those who have been left behind since we formed 35 years ago. Community Farm Alliance is committed to addressing these deeply rooted injustices, to taking direction from affected communities, and working to dismantle the systems of oppression that allow these injustices to continue. We are not perfect and we are always learning.
This country has its roots in agriculture, and agriculture has roots of oppression and exploitation—exploitation both of natural resources and of people. These roots have become structurally incorporated into our society, economy, policies and judicial system. Over a period of centuries, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian farmers have been specifically and repeatedly disenfranchised and discriminated against. This has looked like stolen labor, stolen land, and stolen opportunity. The effects ripple out to today.
We know that we cannot solve or attempt to solve every problem as a single organization, and so we must work together with other organizations to build broad-based capacity and seek long-term solutions. We ask to be held accountable as we hold accountable our members, our collaborators, and our funders to support this work.
It is important to speak up about the injustices that Black people in particular have faced historically and continue to face today. Without racial justice, we cannot fulfill our vision of a strong socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable food and farm system. We believe that actions speak louder than words, so our Board and staff have been working over the past two weeks to figure out how CFA needs to be showing up for our community.
CFA is acting on our Commitment to Equity at this time by:
- Launching and administering the Kentucky Black Farmer Fund. Details on how to apply for and contribute to the fund will be released in the coming days.
- Advocating for a portion of local, state and federal police budgets to be redirected towards food security efforts–just one area of preventative programs that make our communities safer.
- Redirecting staff time towards frontline support and developing a plan for long-term interventions and support for Black farmers.
- Calling for CFA members to support Black farmers and Black-owned ag and food businesses. Staff will work with community leaders to compile and share out comprehensive lists.
- Calling for banks and farm support agencies to reach out to Black farmers and Black-owned food businesses intentionally to ensure they have access to federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) resources.
- Purchasing $2000 of food from Black farmers to be donated to the #FeedTheWest efforts in Louisville. Farmers who want to donate fresh food can find more information HERE.
This momentum must be sustained beyond this moment. We challenge every agriculture organization and every non-profit to join us in supporting our Black farmers and neighbors by making tangible commitments to do this work.