Food Justice requires Land Justice. As an urban farmer; one of the most tenacious issues I have faced has been that of land tenure. Finding places to grow has been hard work; often harder than the growth itself. After years of growing on land, I have seen land owners decide to change terms, sell their property or decide to develop urban farms we have grown on into something else. In order to fully practice self-determination; people of African ancestry have to have land that they control and do not have to worry about being taken away.
The phenomenon we experience today is that predominately white led urban agriculture profits colonize our rapidly gentrifying black and brown communities in Richmond Virginia and across the country. Instead of investing in the pre-existing community; these organizations access their circles of wealth and resources to fund salaries, programs, and organizations that hardly ever put our communities in leadership positions. We aren’t ever given the title to the land nor title of leadership. These organizations rarely if ever use their power and privilege to disrupt systems of systemic racism.
When we do work explaining why communities do not have access to healthy food; we tell the story of how communities of color were redlined; denied mortgages and financing based on race in the 1950s by the Federal Housing Administration. We tell the tale of how African American neighborhoods were destroyed by the creation of the interstate highway system. We tell the story of how black farmers were discriminated against and denied loans and other services by the USDA plus how their land was stolen by members of the white community operating on local and state levels across the country. We always explain that lack of food access is always about power and how systems were established to deny people of color of theirs.
The Land Justice Fund is a reparative act. It is opportunity for us to disrupt systems of oppression. Join us in this work of funding ownership of land and the cultivation of self-determination in our communities today.