In this three-part series, we are showcasing Black-owned urban farms in all their glory from three different regions of the U.S.
When you think of a farmer, does an old, white man on a John Deere tractor come to mind? The image of farming in the United States has been carefully crafted by the government. After tilling the soil of this country against our will hundreds of years, Black people had the skills to own and operate our own farms, but you know… institutional racism didn’t end when slavery ended.
For decades, the U.S. Department of Agriculture discriminated against Black farmers by excluding them from farm loans and assistance. As a result, the number of Black farmers in the U.S. decreased dramatically. Collectively, Black farmers lost over 14 million acres of land, an area comparable to the size of West Virginia.
Based on the history of former land loss, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights predicted the extinction of the Black farmer by the year 2000. But Black people are survivors and despite being stolen from, the number of Black farmers are growing. These farms offer produce at fair prices often without the support from the government white farmers receive.
Check out these Black farmers in the DMV who are growing food and educating the community about self-reliance, activism, and collective ownership.
Three Part Harmony Farm (3PH) is an urban farm located in Northeast Washington, D.C. that not only aims to grow food for people but also dismantle racism and oppression that is entrenched in the food system. The Farm’s owner and operator, Gail Taylor, is committed to supporting new farmers and farms owned by Black people and people of color. 3PH uses sustainable practices to grow vegetables, herbs, fruits, and cut-flowers.
3PH donates produce to soup kitchens and food pantries that distribute food to people in need. Community members can purchase a portion of their harvest before each growing season and they can also work at the farm in exchange for fresh produce from the farm.
Are you a fan of mushrooms? If so, you definitely need to check out Good Sense Farm. Zachari Curtis, the owner of Good Sense Farm (GSF), finds mushrooms magical and mysterious. After working at another farm, extensive internet research, and some intuition, Good Sense Farm was born. GSF offers gourmet mushrooms to the D.C. area. They can be found at the Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market and the Petworth Community Market. Not in the D.C. area? Don’t worry! GSF has an Etsy shop complete with mushroom jerky, tea, lip balm, and more!
The family that owns and operates Five Seeds Farm (FSF) believes farming is essential, artistic, and exciting. They champion the idea that true food security comes from controlling your own food. The food at FSF is grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. You can find FSF at the Columbia Heights and Baltimore Farmer’s Market. You’ll find a variety of products from FSF, including fruits, vegetables, honey, eggs, and meat. FSF is a one-stop-shop for your next meal.
See our first part of this series here: PART ONE: BLACK-OWNED URBAN FARMS IN ATLANTA
Do you know of any Black-owned urban farms we didn’t list? Please tell us about their work and link to their website in the comments!