African American farmers have been subjected to centuries of prejudice and systemic racism, resulting in economic disadvantages which are being exacerbated by the growing climate crisis:
This bleak economic picture and the relative vulnerability that African American farmers have to the climate crisis are demonstrated by two associated indicators:
Given the increasing intensity and variability of rainstorms and resultant vulnerability of farmers to climate impacts without the protection of insurance, African American farmers are at significant risk.
Compounding this risk is the over reliance on row crops (about 30% of African American farms) which, without irrigation, are more susceptible to climate fluctuations than other crops.
The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust has awarded a grant to Nature For Justice for Phase 1 of this long term effort. In the first year we envision a 12-month process for developing and executing the initial phase of our work to support existing African American farmer networks in North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida as they build capacity to manage impacts from climate change, as well as other challenges to more resilient farms and communities.
More specifically, we believe the first six months of 2021 are critical to the success of the effort. Our early objectives include the following:
As a result of these early efforts, we expect to lay the groundwork for collaboration between existing farmer networks and institutional and technical partners to co-create and co-implement strategies and actions that increase the resilience of African American farmers to the emerging issues they face due to climate impacts.
The goal for Nature for Justice is to connect and build upon these existing networks, resources, and capabilities to increase the capacity of African American farmers to build thriving operations and communities, expanding opportunity and achieving a higher quality of life.
Nature for Justice will be a valued partner to communities and networks in pursuit of these goals.