Agriculture cannot be regenerative without racial equity.
Agriculture cannot be regenerative without racial equity. At Quivira, we are outraged and saddened by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, James Scurlock, David McAtee, Tony McDade, and countless other Black people who have been victims of police brutality and systemic racism. Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with protests across the country and with the organizations and individuals who demand justice and accountability from law enforcement. If we want sustainable and regenerative food and agriculture systems, we must stand and act together to dismantle the institutional, systemic, and individual racism that permeates American society.
What does agriculture have to do with the protests happening in cities and towns right now? Agriculture in this country and around the world was built on and continues to benefit from slavery, land theft, and the exploitation of Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. Further, the effects of climate change, inequitable food distribution, and food insecurity disproportionately impact communities of color. For agriculture to be truly regenerative, this must change.
The Quivira Coalition was founded in a practice of the radical center, but as an organization we recognize that we need to do better—including examining our inherent bias and taking action to change the ways we perpetuate and uphold racist systems. Over the years, the meaning of the radical center has evolved to include racial equity as we have started the hard conversations about privilege, prejudice, and land history in the West. At Quivira, we have come to understand that in order to truly achieve our mission of fostering resilience on arid working lands, we must end racism in food, agriculture, or land stewardship systems.
We are working to become an anti-racist organization, and we invite you to join us on this path. Last fall, we brought these conversations to our community with a conference panel and roundtable sessions on Race and Agriculture (you can watch the panel here). In late March, our team decided to engage in the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge developed six years ago by Food Solutions New England. Rather than packing this powerful course into three weeks, we are doing this work over the course of a year. We’re grateful for the leadership from FSNE and the work they’ve done to create a toolkit that specifically connects food systems and racial equity. We encourage you to take the challenge and hope you’ll share your thoughts, experiences, and perspectives along the way.
In tandem with educating ourselves, we will continue to bring these conversations to our partners, funders, board, and everyone we engage with. While we recognize that the work of becoming anti-racist is hard and uncomfortable, learning and action are overdue because too many have lost lives to violence rooted in racism. No one can do this work alone, and so we invite you into a space of solidarity.
We also recognize that a solidarity statement is not action. We’re committed to doing more than just talking about the issues. We will amplify the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) farmers and ranchers, conservationists, scientists, teachers, agency representatives, and others through our podcast, our conference, and educational workshops. We will also continue to build relationships with BIPOC farmers, ranchers, and land agencies in our region and to support their sovereignty and land stewardship efforts through collaborative workshops and grant writing. We will include racial equity in our New Agrarian Program educational offerings and identify ways to engage more BIPOC mentors and apprentices. And, we will continue to identify other courses of action to not only make Quivira anti-racist, but to move the entire regenerative agriculture movement to do the same.
For agriculture to be truly regenerative, we must learn from and center the land-based knowledge, leadership, and vision of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.
We encourage you to stand against racism and invite you to join us on this journey of transformation.
Alexis, Arielle, Eva, Jenna, Jill, Kit, Leah, Leah, Lynne, Nameh, Sarah, Shawna, and Tyler
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