This week’s discussion will be centered on the ways in which BFN partners with local Black producers and distributors. Black farmland ownership hit a peak, making up about 14 percent of all farmers in the nation and 16 million acres owned, in 1920. (cite) Today Black farmland owners make up about .5 percent of all farmland in the US with about 4.7 million acres owned. (link)
We believe our food systems have historically disenfranchised those closest to the land-farmworkers and small farmers-especially Black, indigenous, and other peoples of color. To that end, we have piloted a Sustainable Sourcing Program that supports the efforts of Black food and land justice actors. By purchasing from farmers who use sustainable or regenerative practices, we source food for today while seeding tomorrow’s harvest. And, by purchasing from smaller local Black farmers, we direct capital to communities that have been historically disinvested, investing in a more equitable future.
Since the program’s inception in early 2021, we regularly procure fruits and vegetables from farmers associated with the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) along with Dig Deep Farms, and we have made connections with Slow Food to sign onto their cooperative purchasing program. In doing this work we recognize the need to engage with the many Black producers in our area. BFN will continue to engage in introspective conversations around land justice and supporting these kinds of partnerships.
By partnering with organizations that are rooted in their communities, our purchases provide the kind of support that we believe will empower future Black leaders. At BFN we believe people have a human right to be fed nutritious, healthful foods and these partners help to guide and direct that nutrition and resources to the people that need it most. In 2022 We are dedicated to enhancing our engagement with organizations that are Black-led, founded, principally operated, and owned.