The Importance of Land and the Fight Against Food Insecurity

Notes and Resources from SNCC 60th Anniversary Conference Session ((will update with link to full program at SNCC Legacy website when available in February). This session focussed on the importance of Black landownership and production of food as vital to liberation and caring for one another.

Savi Horne, Executive Director at Land Loss Prevention Project

Leah Penniman, Black Kreyol Farmer, Author, and Food Justice Activist

Shirley Sherrod, Co-Founder, Southwest Georgia Project and New Communities Inc.

Malik Yakini, Executive Director, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network

Federal Aid: To compensate for historic prejudicial lending practices that disadvantaged Black farmers, the U.S. government approved $4 billion in debt relief for farmers of color in March 2021. However, the money is tied up in lawsuits filed by white farmers who claim the program is unfair.

https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2021/0901/Debt-relief-for-only-Black-farmers-Not-so-fast-say-white-farmers

ACTION: Follow this case online and write your Senator and the Department of Agriculture to insist on implementation.

Training for Black famers including heirs and new farmers:

  1. Learn how to farm, what to farm and why farms are important to Black community and beyond
  2. Learn how to acquire you own land, not just work land that belongs to others including legal re-partition of land (heirs property). Consider collective ownership, community land trusts. 
  3. Learn sustainability, planning and strategy skills. You may have to shift your idea of what to do with the land, which crops or animals to raise. Find your niche. Accept the reality that small farms are very seldom sufficient for all family income. May need to work other jobs for income. Examples: landscaping paving, snow-plowing, repair business and other businesses needed in rural areas. Also bookkeeping, tax preparation and other professions where you can manage your own time.

ACTION: Learn About The Federation of Southern Cooperatives / Land Assistance Fund

https://www.federation.coop which works to develop cooperatives and credit unions and to save, protect and expand the landholdings of Black family farmers in the South;

Learn more about the history of loans for and restoration of Black farmland

https://www.thenation.com/article/society/black-farmers-pigford-debt/

Details history. Our speakers cautioned against working with private attorneys. Work with nonprofit and state/federal resources to recover land and learn about your rights under Pigford V Glickman.

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