Welcome to the June 2020 edition of The Buzz. The senseless killing of George Floyd, one of the countless Black men who have died at the hands of the police, has put the United States’ history of systemic racism to the forefront. Nowhere is this history more foundational than in our agriculture, beginning with the enslavement of Black people to farm land stolen from Indigenous populations and continuing with the exploitation of Latinx, Black, and Asian workers in the fields and food processing facilities today. There will be no food justice or truly sustainable agriculture in this country without racial justice, and that’s why the sustainable ag community must stand with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Below, this month’s edition leads with an article about the history of racism in agriculture and how rural America is (or is not) responding to the current crisis. The story features CFSA member (and our 2019 Activist of the Year), Davon Goodwin, who is the only Black commercial farmer in Scotland County, NC, and manager of the Sandhills AGInnovation Center. We will continue to focus on issues of racial equity in agriculture in future newsletters.
We continue to advocate for legislation that will support sustainable agriculture as farms, farmers markets, and other local food businesses struggle to stay afloat during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers across the Carolinas who are being devastated; 3 out of 4 of our local farms are losing significant revenue as shown by CFSA’s member survey report released this week.
The remainder of this month’s edition will highlight several issues that have been under the radar including a federal court’s ruling that North Carolina’s controversial “ag-gag” law is unconstitutional, another federal court decision around herbicide use, and an update on the ever-turbulent world of hemp.
Nick Wood, CFSA Policy Director