Breakfast Event for Recognition of Historical Injustices in Agriculture

Friday, February 02nd, 2024

The Environmental Professional Network (EPN) and the Growing and Growth Collective hosted a breakfast event titled Recognition of history injustices in agriculture Dr. Gail P. Myers served as the keynote speaker and the importance of environmental experiences for racial healing. This event focused on acknowledging and discussing the history and racial inequities of black farmers and land access. The objective was to facilitate an environment of healing by discussing these historical injustices openly and crafting a blueprint through collaborations and pooling resources together as a state, so that future generations can thrive in agriculture regardless of their race or ethnicity.

The Ohio State University doctoral alum, Dr. Gail P. Myers served as the keynote speaker for the breakfast event. Dr. Myers is the founder of Farms to Grow Inc., a non-profit aimed to aid African American farmers and other underserved sustainable farmers in the United States. Dr. Myers stressed, documenting and disseminating history is important so that future generations understand what has happened and to prevent it from happening again. Prior to the event, there was a private viewing of Dr. Myers documentary Rhythm of the Land, which showcased the generational trauma and experiences regarding black farmers and land ownership in the early 20th century. It was powerful listening to firsthand experiences from sharecroppers of racial inequities in land access and how many lost their land.

After the EPN Breakfast program, an education workshop was conducted to discuss the optimal methods for improving the market assets and resources for underserved communities in Ohio. This workshop included sessions on raising awareness for BIPOC producers, the geospatial aspects of planning community gardens, and an update on the 2024 Farm Bill’s potential opportunities for BIPOC farms in urban agriculture.

Overall, this was a great event that focused on the call to action about a blueprint for racial equitable success. It highlighted the importance of history, understanding, healing, and legacy. It facilitated an environment where everyone could share their experiences. Throughout the morning event, there were networking sessions to facilitate honest conversations with BIPOC farmers/growers, urban farmers/growers, Ohio State faculty/administrators, and federal support organizations in Ohio. This allowed for great discussion and connections to form. While there is still much work that needs to be done to eliminate racial/ethnic disparities and improve equity in the food system, the focus of healing resonates with the idea of it’s a process and events like this facilitate that goal.

This event served as the start for their 8th annual National Day of Racial Healing in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The National Day of Racial Healing is a part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial, Healing & Transformation efforts. This event was also supported by Ohio State University Libraries, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the CFAES Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The breakfast event was hosted at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center and utilized zero-waste reusable dining toolkits to minimize food waste.

Livestream of the Breakfast Event: Link

Sourced from the Environmental Professional Network

Article submitted by Dr. Jared Grant, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics at The Ohio State University