Photo Credit: Moss Family Fruits & Veggies, Albion NY
Co-ops have a long history of facilitating power for rural farmers in the Southern US and globally, but never took deep root in New York State (NYS). It’s past time, and in this era of isolation and crisis of democracy Food for the Spirit is supporting the formation and development of a Black farmer co-op for New York State.
A steering committee composed of NYS Black farmers and stakeholders working to secure food and land sovereignty for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) farmers, met to discuss how a co-op might meaningfully address organizing and infrastructure gaps that have been barriers to Black farmers success.
With only 139 Black farmers of the 57,000 NYS farmers accounted for by the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture, the steering committee found consensus around the idea of expanding those farmers’ visibility by way of umbrella marketing under a Black brand.
The next stages of this cooperative project will see through the work of knitting together values, purpose and identity by marketing together. It’s early, but the vision for what can come of this has been brightening the winter.
For more information or to inquire about getting involved, email Rebekah@foodforthespirit.org.
Written by Emilie Miyauchi.