Are you wary of the food you buy at your local, chain grocery store? More and more Americans are becoming aware of the things the industrial food industry passes off as perfectly safe to eat. With deaths and recalls from e coli and salmonella, with the plethora of pesticides, and even genetically modified products, who can blame them? That’s why Black men and women are stepping up to provide truly healthy alternatives, and here are 13 farms and activists you can turn to.
13. Zachari Curtis – Good Sense Farm
If you live in Washington D.C., then you’re one of the lucky ones. Zachari has dedicated the past two years to his apiculture and mycoculture farm, branches of agriculture that focuses on beekeeping and growing mushrooms. On their website they state one of their goals is to provide these high quality products “to people who aren’t going to high-priced farmers’ markets. Our goal is to grow the food no one else is growing and sell it to the people we love.“
12. Mchezaji Axum
This man wants to bring an urban farm revolution to Washington D.C. He currently conducts research at the University of the District of Columbia, where he’s discovering new ways to grow foods in small spaces.
11. Maria Taylor – Three Part Harmony Farm
Maria discovered her passion by chance, but her energy is unmatched. Her farm in Washington D.C. is a nonprofit, and she wants others to feel the liberation she feel when working with her hands. She wants people to reconnect to the land.
10. Mansfield Frazier – Château Hough Vineyards and Biocellar
Mansfield is simultaneously breaking down ex-convict stereotypes and food deserts. His farm is located in the unlikely Cleveland neighborhood, Hough. His staff is composed of prisoners, who learn about sustainability and prepare themselves for work.
9. The Rid-All Green Partnership
Damien Forshe, Keymah Durden, and Randy McShepard grew up together in Cleveland. As adults, they’ve built two greenhouses and four hoop houses, with the goal of teaching their community how to lead happy and sustainable lives.
8. Onika Abraham – Farm School NYC
Onika is an educator in NYC, where she teaches classes on urban farming and sustainability. The Farm School has been around for eight years, and you can bet now they’re needed more than ever.
7. Natasha Bowens
This activist is all over the place, encouraging awareness and urban agricultural projects in Brooklyn, Detroit, and Chicago. She realized that having the power to access the food you need is a huge part of today’s social issues. She’s even put together a directory of African Americans in the industry, the Color of Food.
6. Jamila Norman – Patchwork City Farms
If you’re in Atlanta, ask for Farmer J. Her farm has been around for five years and she schools people on the need and practicability of growing food sustainably.
5. Cynthia Hayes – Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network
This woman received a James Beard Foundation Award for a very good reason — she organized a ferocious powerhouse of Black farmers who, now, have the ability to force legislators to listen to their needs.
4. Farms to Grow
In Northern California, Gail Myers and Gordon Reed want to see farmers create self-sustainable communities. That’s why they’re teaching them about sustainability and community-based agricultural projects.
3. Phat Beets Produce
There are definitely Phat Beets coming out of Oakland, California. This organization approaches food from a social justice perspective, where they teach everyone has the right to have access to affordable, healthy products through educating farms and individuals.
2. Sará Reynolds Green
Sará has a rich family history in South Carolina as a member of the Gullah culture. She grows crops to use in the restaurant, Gullah Grub, to sell at farmers markets, and to teach the youth in her area how to grow and cook amazing food.
1. Community Services Unlimited
This organization used to be a branch of the Black Panther Party, and even after they broke up, this branch continued. They serve the underprivileged community in Los Angeles, working to end food deserts and educate people how to lead healthy, sustainable lives.