Here are some questions we have been asked and our responses at this time. We want to learn and listen with you and welcome additional questions and feedback from our community. Send questions and comments to [email protected].
Why is MOFGA spending so much time and energy working on diversity, equity and inclusion when it is an agricultural organization? How is this related?
As an agricultural organization, MOFGA is working to create a food system that is just and equitable for all. As part of MOFGA’s vision for the future everybody has access to healthy, culturally appropriate food and that power is more evenly distributed within the food system. We understand the U.S. food system — both historically and present-day — to be rooted in extractive systems including enslavement, land theft, and chemical-based agriculture. Therefore conversations of equity and justice are intrinsically linked to our mission as an agricultural organization. Economically, environmentally and socially sustainable farms are a permanent fixture of the community, and in order to support sustainability we must learn from and work to address inequities in the food system.
I don’t see inequities in the food system. Can you prove this is an issue?
As a place to begin learning, we offer the following resources and examples of how the white dominant culture impacts marginalized communities.
- “Dismantling Racism in the Food System” — An article from FoodFirst that offers an overview of racism in the food system.
- Milk With Dignity Campaign — This video from Migrant Justice describes the Milk With Dignity Campaign, which builds a movement of farmworkers and allies calling on dairy companies to ensure respect for human rights in their supply chains by joining the worker-driven Milk with Dignity Program.
- Leah Penniman’s keynote address at the 2020 Common Ground Country Fair — Leah Penniman discusses how some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices, from organic agriculture to the farm cooperative to the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, have roots in African wisdom – yet discrimination and violence against African-American and Black farmers have led to their decline from 14% of all growers in 1920 to less than 2% today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land.
- What Happened to all the Black Farmers? — This video from NBC Left Field explores Black land loss in the United States through the perspective of sugar cane farmer June Provost, Jr. and the Pigford v. Glickman lawsuit that found discriminatory practices in the USDA.
- Winona LaDuke’s keynote address at the 2020 Common Ground Country Fair — Learn about LaDuke’s current project, Anishinaabe Agriculture, which is working to relocalize a food economy, to restore traditional food varieties that can adapt in a time of climate change and to create a hemp economy. The project is building a regional Indigenous and local food system based on transitioning away from fossil fuel economics and back to a restorative economy and farming system. Anishinaabe Agriculture focuses on Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, potatoes, perennials, tobacco and hemp. Recognizing the instability of globalized food systems, the project is working to deepen its food work in the community and toward relocalizing a food economy.
How do I get involved?
This list of organizations led by BIPOC and other marginalized communities is a great resource for furthering your engagement. MOFGA also hosts events and facilitates discussions about anti-racism work and agriculture. Check out our events calendar for upcoming opportunities.