Systemic Racism, Food Systems, and Our Work
Systemic racism and white supremacy have shaped our current food system for hundreds of years, from forced slave labor on plantations to land theft from black and indegenous farmers to inequitable distribution of farm subsidies to the food apartheid we see in black and brown neighborhoods today.
Poor access to healthy food creates devastating health disparities for people of color. Lack of food security and resiliency leaves communities without enough food to eat. Environmental degradation from industrial farming destroys the land that indiginous populations once carefully cultivated.
Of course, racism in our food system is not limited to industrial agriculture – the environmental movement and the organic food movement also have a history of exclusion and racism that spans decades.
Known & Grown is not exempt from perpetuating those injustices, and in our one year of existence, have failed to be the anti-racist organization that we hoped to be from our founding. We do not have enough farmers of color in our membership. We do not have an advisory board to guide us through anti-racist actions. We are not an active presence in communities of color. The majority of our following on social media is white. Our staff of three is entirely white.
Inaction is no longer an option. We as an organization are aware of the history that has brought us to this moment in time, and we stand with our black brothers and sisters in solidarity as we collectively fight for a just and fair world. We don’t claim to have an answer or solution, but we are committed to making justice a key plank in our platform and prioritizing the struggle for equity in our work.
Words without action are empty. Here is a short list of our immediate next steps to address systemic racism within our organization:
- Recruiting more farmers of color to our program
- Creating more content and sharing more social media posts about racism in our institutions and anti-racism efforts within our food system
- Offering resources and expertise for farmers of color who want to learn more about implementing our Good Stewardship Practices
- Seeking guidance on the direction of our program from leaders in black and brown farming communities
If you have suggestions, feedback, or ideas to expand our anti-racism work, please email [email protected].