Below, you’ll find CFSA’s stance on racial equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as a growing list of racial equity resources to promote our organizational learning and dialog as a community.

CFSA’s Statement on Racial Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

We affirm that racial equity—an understanding and acknowledgment of historical and ongoing racial inequities and a commitment to actions challenging those inequities—is a core tenet of Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s outlook.

We affirm that racial equity will be embedded in CFSA’s structure, programs, and policy development and advocacy.

Sustainable agriculture has been a long-standing practice in the communities of people of color, migrants, and indigenous groups. We believe that participation and leadership from sustainable agriculture pioneers as well as newer practitioners—diverse farmers, ranchers, and farm workers—is vital to building the power of the sustainable agriculture movement and increasing its influence on policy.

Because of our commitment to a racially just and equitable food and farm system, we are working strategically and collaboratively to:

  • Build a racial equity lens into CFSA’s strategic planning process;
  • Build pathways to increase participation and leadership of people with racial/ethnic diversity in our membership;
  • Actively challenge policies that perpetuate systems of oppression and inequities in the food and farm system;
  • Engage in and support the efforts of organizations led by those most affected by food and farm system inequities and strengthen our role as an effective ally to food justice, farmers/ ranchers of color, and farm/ food worker organizations; and
  • Create an ongoing dialogue to explore key concepts including cultural, structural and institutional racism, white privilege, racial equity, and allyship, especially in regard to the context of these issues in food and farming systems.

We recognize that our objectives require ongoing reflection and action. We also recognize the need for adaptation as we encounter new perspectives and additional information; as such, this statement must be a “living” statement, able to be amended as we gain new understandings.

We also know that we are part of a larger network of like-minded organizations striving to fulfill the goals of racial equity within the food and farming system. It is our intent that our membership and allies hold us—and each other—accountable to these goals and that we work together to collaboratively address the racial equity issues that most affect farmers, ranchers, workers, and communities.

Racial Equity Resources

The number of Black farmers in the U.S. has dwindled from 1 million in 1920, 14 percent of farms, to less than 50,000 and just 1.4 percent of farms today. Judges have consistently found that federal ag agencies, from Washington, DC headquarters all the way down to the county-level, actively discriminated against Black, Indigenous, other people of color (BIPOC) farmers for decades. The largest proportion of ag research advances in the US have originated from publicly-funded universities founded on land expropriated from indigenous communities. The share of Hispanic and Black households in the US that are uncertain of having enough food is two and three times higher respectively than among the white population.

This reality of historical and ongoing racial inequities in food and agriculture are what prompted CFSA to adopt our Statement on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The sustainable agriculture community in this country and beyond is recognizing that mending the damage done to BIPOC communities is fundamental to an agriculture that is good for people and the planet. We provide this race equity-related resource list as part of our goal to promote dialog about cultural, structural, and institutional racism in food and farming systems, and as part of our own organizational learning about these issues and their impacts.

Getting Started Resources

Glossary: Racial Equity Tools Glossary
Words hold different meanings for different people, especially over time. This guide by dRworks defines key terms and ideas in racial equity work, which creates a shared understanding.
Source: Racial Equity Tools

Video: What Is Systemic Racism? (1 min each)
This eight-part series of one-minute videos succinctly sums up systemic racism and how it shows up across institutions across society in a digestible way. Each video tackles a different facet: wealth gap, employment, housing discrimination, government surveillance, incarceration, drug arrests, immigration arrests, and infant mortality.
Source: Race Forward

Video: 3 Myths of Racism (10 min)
This hopeful 10-minute video makes a case for coming to a shared understanding of the concept of racism.
Source: Dr. Candis Watts Smith, TEDxPSU (TEDx Talks)

Regional Resources

Racial Equity Resources & Suggested Reading List
This resource page from the Center for Environmental Farming Systems is particularly notable for its book recommendations specific to food and race. Additional suggestions include background information on anti-racism.
Source: Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) Committee on Racial Equality (CORE)

Anti-Bias Resources
This reading and resource list includes a section devoted to racial inequity in food systems, with a focus on challenging racism in farm to school and cooking education initiatives.
Source: ASAP: Growing Minds

Article: Black Farmers Markets Bring Greater Equity to the South’s Food System
As many as a quarter of North Carolina farmers markets have no Black farmers or vendors. The Black Farmers Markets in Durham and Raleigh, NC, are working to create equitable access and help Black farmers foster food sovereignty in their communities.
Source: Facing South (Institute for Southern Studies’ online magazine)

Non-Regional Resources

Racial Equity Toolkit
This resource provides a reading guide on issues of racial inequity and oppression in the food system that is intended to be used by a group of people investigating these issues together, including questions to guide group discussions of the materials.
Source: National Young Farmers Coalition

Guide: Structural Racism Present in the U.S. Food System
Michigan State annually requests recommendations from organizations working in the racial equity space for works to be included in this bibliography. The result is a comprehensive list of works on food and racism. The writers even created an online library where readers can access many of the resources for free.
Source: Michigan State University Center For Regional Food Systems

Guide: Indigenous Justice for Environmental Movements
Indigenous people around the globe have always been hit first and worst by climate and ecological crises. This tool is intended for non-Indigenous organizations doing climate or environmental organizing to align their work with Indigenous organizing and sovereignty.
Source: Catalyst Project

Heirs’ Property Resources

Heirs’ property is land co-owned by people with a common ancestor. When a family member dies without a will, land transfers informally to that person’s descendants. The legal system is avoided, but the resulting ownership model is unstable. Any family member could force the sale of the entire property, leaving the land vulnerable to developers. Lending institutions rarely lend money to heirs’ property owners. Legal remedies are available, but they are expensive, time-consuming, and require a lot of cooperation among distant family members. The following institutions are working to solve some of these problems that disproportionately impact black landowners:

Heirs’ Property Retention Coalition – A collection of resources and organizations working on heirs’ property issues.

Black Family Land Trust – A NC organization dedicated to preserving Black land ownership.

Land Loss Prevention Project – A NC organization that provides legal services, technical assistance, and education to aid Black, Indigenous, people of color, and limited resources farmers to preserve their land.

Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation – A SC non-profit providing legal services for families who own heirs’ property.

Regional Groups/Organizations Addressing Racial Equity

There are many excellent organizations addressing these issues in the Carolinas that we are learning from. Here are a few that we encourage you to connect with and support:

Have a resource you’d like to recommend for this list? We will update this page periodically, so if you have a resource that you recommend and do not see, please contact us! We’d love to learn and grow together.