This Week’s Harvest
Okra (Thursday only)
Mini sweet “lunch box” bell peppers
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
As both a farmer and as a student of history (it was my major in college), I was pretty ashamed I did not know about the topic of African American land loss that took place in the twentieth century in the south until I read “The Great Land Robbery” in the current issue of The Atlantic. The article lays out arguments why the number of African American farmers decreased from 1 million during WW1 to just 18,000 in 1992. It points to discriminatory lending practices both within government agencies and banks. For example, the 1997 lawsuit against the USDA, Pigford v. Glickman, awarded thousands of black farmers settlements of over $6 million for discrimination that had occurred in the agency between 1981 and 1996. I cannot attempt to summarize the vast information contained within the article so I just recommend you read it. And if you are strapped for time, PBS NewsHour interviewed the author and that 8 minute video is found here: how-southern-black-farmers-were-forced-from-their-land-and-their-heritage
Another informative article covering land loss within the African American population in the south that also came out this summer is in ProPublica. This article focuses on “heirs’ property” and explains how this confusing and risky type of land ownership contributed to African Americans losing about 90% of their farmland from 1910 to 1970.
It is August and the farm to-do list hasn’t been complete since March. Yet it was important for me to find time to read these 2 articles this weekend. It is crucial that as I try to contribute in my small way to a more sustainable food and farming system full of thriving small family farms, I know the history of African American family farms- from the promise of “40 acres and a mule” after the Civil War to the present situation laid out in the articles. I’ve always enjoyed that organic vegetable farming touches on so many important issues from soil health to human health. Now I have one more lens with which to view my work.
Edamame with Cranberries, Basil and Feta (use your fresh edamame. you can boil the pods whole in salted water for 5 to 7 minutes. Once cooled, simply pop the beans our of the pod)
Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…..) sweet corn, watermelon, kale, green beans, edamame, tomatoes, eggplant