Systemic Racism, police brutality, food security and action
First of all, I just want to say that we (Nica and Adam and kids) do not live in a bubble, and we are very aware of everything that has been fermenting and bubbling over in our world right now. Just because we don't have time to post on social media about #blacklivesmatter, #defundthepolice and other issues, does not mean that we don't care or want to do something about these problems.
But also, these are not new problems. It's great when people are publicly pointing out systemic racism and police brutality. It's great when people are calling for action and realizing that we all have to do something about this. This is something that has been in Canada, in the US, and all over the world as long as governments have existed. Let's acknowledge that. All people who are NOT Black, Indigenous, "People of Colour" (we aren't the biggest fans of these labels, but they are useful in being clear what we are talking about), all people who consider themselves "Allies" instead of being directly impacted by racism, need to acknowledge that there have been times when we have done nothing. Now it's time to move on and do something. And we can't stop with gestures and words on social media. If we mean change, we have to actively pursue change. Let's include everyone in "we".
As farmers, we often don't have time to fold the laundry or do the dishes or call our parents (all mundane things that are important to do regularly). So we don't have the time to compile all the answers about what actions to take. There are many more qualified people talking and writing about taking action at this moment. I would encourage everyone who finds the phrase "Defund the Police" to be a scary one to do some research about what this is intended to mean by those who say it. Here's one person's breakdown of the implications:
Original post by Dr. Anthony James Hargraves
Here's a call to action that you can sign on to support (links for different Canadian cities) from Greenpeace: https://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/story/38830/call-to-action-defund-the-police-in-canada/
A few Black farmers (and organizations to support black farmers) to follow and donate to if you have the means:
Black Women's Agricultural Freedom Fund, Toronto
Sundance Harvest Farm, Toronto
Amber Tamm, New York
Ron Finley, Los Angelos
Soul Fire Farm, New York
This is by no means exhaustive. There are so many people doing good work on this, and so many organizations to support. None of us, BIPOC or Ally, have the time to do everything. That's why we, as farmers, are trying to focus on food security and food justice.
We are privileged to live on this piece of land that is legally called our own. We are privileged to have had so many resources available to us, passed on from our parents and grandparents. What we can do is take that privilege and use it to provide access to fresh food to as many people from diverse backgrounds and income brackets as possible.
Lastly, as parents, the simplest (although not easiest) thing we can do right now is to teach our children. If all children could grow up listening to perspectives that are different from their own, the next generation of thinkers and decision-makers might be able to more quickly examine their own assumptions and prejudices, call out others on their behaviour, and take action. We personally live in a very white area with a pretty homogenous culture, and that provides the challenge of actively ensuring our children are familiar with the vast spectrum of human race and culture. When we are familiar with people who look or sound or act differently from ourselves, prejudice is easier to identify and let go of - it's easier to realize the just because one aspect of a person is not like ourselves, it doesn't mean that our humanity and their own can be valued differently in any way.
I can't say it better than our friend and fellow farmer in Georgia (US), Julia of Rag and Frass Farm: "When we put our hands in the earth, or eat a meal grown from it, remember that the land was first stolen and then cultivated with oppression and violence. This is the underlying foundation of our (national and personal) wealth, security, privilege and existence as we know it. Nothing we have can be separated from this fact. Every time you eat a great meal, enjoy the outdoors, feel safe or happy, acknowledge to yourself the truth that it is first and foremost, directly or indirectly, riding on the backs and blood and suffering of indigenous and enslaved people and their descendants, a legacy overtly and covertly continued to this day. We can actively deconstruct or passively uphold, and it’s been time for a long time to own up to our complacency." (Instagram @ragandfrassfarm)
Feel free to add comments of other actions/organizations that we can all support along these lines!
Thanks everyone for reading,