Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Black-Owned Farms in New Focus as Biden Looks for Solutions to Both Race and Climate Crises

Politics
Black-Owned Farms in New Focus as Biden Looks for Solutions to Both Race and Climate Crises
Sedrick Kent Rowe Jr. from Albany, Georgia is the owner and operator of Rowe Organic Farms LLC. Black Farmers Network
Two of the four interconnected crises prioritized by the Biden administration — climate change and systemic racism — converge on Black farmers, The New York Times reports.

Decades of racial violence and racist lending and land ownership policies have nearly eliminated Black farmers in the U.S. — 2% of U.S. farms are run by Black farmers, down from 14% in 1920. The Biden administration has pledged to address and work to undo the decades of discrimination against Black, and other POC farmers and to make agriculture a key part of its efforts to fight climate change.

"We've waited year after year after year. We've fought for changes," Shirley Sherrod, a former Georgia state director for rural development at the Department of Agriculture who was fired in 2010 over a doctored and misleading video. "Now [the USDA], and this country, really needs to figure out how to do the right thing by Black people."

Tom Vilsack, who headed USDA for the entire Obama Administration and is currently nominated to run it again, promised Black farmers "a seat at the table" during a meeting with civil rights groups last month. In 2015, less than 0.2% of the $5.7 billion of microloans issued by the USDA went to Black farmers.

As reported by The New York Times:

Sedrick Rowe was a running back for Georgia's Fort Valley State University when he stumbled on an unexpected oasis: an organic farm on the grounds of the historically Black school.
He now grows organic peanuts on two tiny plots in southwest Georgia, one of few African-American farmers in a state that has lost more than 98 percent of its Black farmers over the past century.
"It weighs on my mind," he said of the history of discrimination, and violence, that drove so many of his predecessors from their farms. "Growing our own food feels like the first step in getting more African-American people back into farming."
---
For Mr. Rowe, organic farming practices on his modest 30 acres are also an economic imperative: His crop fetches several times the price of standard peanuts on the market. That helps him compete in a business landscape dominated by predominantly white farmers taking advantage of huge economics of scale and subsidies.
"It's a good start," Mr. Rowe said of Mr. Biden's plan. "You take care of your soil, the soil takes care of you."

For a deeper dive:

The New York Times

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

Pexels

By Jessica Corbett

A new study is shedding light on just how much ice could be lost around Antarctica if the international community fails to urgently rein in planet-heating emissions, bolstering arguments for bolder climate policies.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that over a third of the area of all Antarctic ice shelves — including 67% of area on the Antarctic Peninsula — could be at risk of collapsing if global temperatures soar to 4°C above pre-industrial levels.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Valley of the Gods in the heart of Bears Ears National Monument. Mint Images / Getty Images

By Sharon Buccino

This week, Secretary Haaland chose a visit to Bears Ears National Monument as her first trip as Interior Secretary. She is spending three days in Bluff, Utah, a small town just outside the monument, listening to representatives of the five tribes who first proposed its designation to President Obama in 2015. This is the same town where former Secretary Sally Jewell spent several hours at a public hearing in July 2016 before recommending the monument's designation to President Obama.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Pexels

By Anthony Richardson, Chhaya Chaudhary, David Schoeman, and Mark John Costello

The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The number of marine species naturally tapers off as you head towards the poles.

Read More Show Less
"Secrets of the Whales" is a new series that will start streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. Disney+

In celebration of Earth Day, a star-studded cast is giving fans a rare glimpse into the secret lives of some of the planet's most majestic animals: whales. In "Secrets of the Whales," a four-part documentary series by renowned National Geographic Photographer and Explorer Brian Skerry and Executive Producer James Cameron, viewers plunge deep into the lives and worlds of five different whale species.

Read More Show Less
Spring is an excellent time to begin bird watching in earnest. Eugenio Marongiu / Cultura / Getty Images

The coronavirus has isolated many of us in our homes this year. We've been forced to slow down a little, maybe looking out our windows, becoming more in tune with the rhythms of our yards. Perhaps we've begun to notice more, like the birds hopping around in the bushes out back, wondering (maybe for the first time) what they are.

Read More Show Less