2. ZERO HUNGER

The Food and Farm Bill Must Right the Wrongs of Longstanding Racial Injustice

The Food and Farm Bill Must Right the Wrongs of Longstanding Racial Injustice
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

The Food and Farm Bill Must Right the Wrongs of Longstanding Racial Injustice  The Equation

The Food and Farm Bill Must Right the Wrongs of Longstanding Racial Injustice

The Birth of an Unjust Agricultural System

As the grandson of Black farmers, sharecroppers, and farmworkers, I know firsthand how the injustices faced by small farmers and workers plague and hinder our food supply.

My grandfather, Frederick Henry Blanding, was a third-generation farmer and descendant of slaves. During his lifespan, most people ate locally sourced and homegrown foods. While Granddaddy Frederick loved farming, he faced such severe discrimination and anticipated the endangered state of small farmers that he swayed my father and his siblings away from farming. He foresaw then what we know now: Our food and farming system was never designed to support Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) workers and small farmers who toil to produce our agricultural goods.

Though the Biden-Harris administration has made concerted efforts to course correct our unjust food and farming systems, there’s much more work to be done; transformational and equitable change cannot be relegated to one presidential administration. It must be indelibly imbued into our public policies. In federal food and agricultural policy, the best vehicle to achieve this change is the food and farm bill.

The Rise of Exclusionary Farm Policies

The USDA was established in 1862 and termed “the People’s Department” by President Lincoln during a time when our food and farming system looked fundamentally different. Ninety percent of Americans farmed, and most Black farmers were still enslaved. Though they continued to struggle with violence, oppression, exploitation, and social exclusion post-slavery, formerly enslaved Black farmers, like my great-great grandfather John Henry Blanding, slowly acquired land. As noted in a UCS report, by 1920 there were 920,000 Black farmers making up 14 percent of all farmers and owning 15 million acres of farmland.

However, 60 years later, the number of Black farmers dwindled by 95 percent and they lost 80 percent of farmland, a change which is directly attributable to the continued exclusion of Black farmers from USDA programs, political power by anti-Black local USDA offices, and complex legal trickery through heirs’ property.

Like many small farmers, my great-great grandfather lost his farmland during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, an unprecedented disaster caused by natural forces and human depletion of the soil from overproduction and intensive monoculture farming. In response, the first farm bill, the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 (AAA)—a component of the New Deal—incentivized reducing production to raise crop prices through subsidy payments and established county committees controlled by racist elite plantation owners in the South who helped determine and distribute these subsidies.

Additionally, USDA implementation of the policies excluded tenant farmers and sharecroppers as eligible farmers. Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress highlighted the need for “fair and equitable treatment” of sharecroppers, small farmers, and tenant farmers, but the USDA continued to silo them from needed resources. Many landlords evicted their tenant farmers and sharecroppers as they invested in new machinery, and policymakers continued to support the emergence of industrialized agriculture.

The Farmers Home Administration (FHA), established in 1946, continued to favor large-scale white farmers through local offices managed and controlled by local county committee members who promoted anti-Black racism and barely considered Black farmers in USDA programs and services. Black farmers tried to hold together by forming cooperatives. However, due to ongoing farm consolidation, lack of access to new technological advancements, and longstanding discrimination as noted in the Pigford class action suit settlements and the Commission on Civil Rights reports in 1965 and 1982, today there are only 41,807 Black farmers. That is only 1.2% of all farmers.

A Path Towards Food and Farm Justice

Because of the work of advocates and coalitions, the Biden-Harris administration has pursued a comprehensive approach to address this sordid history of inequality and injustice entrenched in our nation’s food supply chain, especially within the USDA. This includes establishing the USDA Equity Commission, appointing Dr. Dewayne Goldmon as the first Senior Advisor for Racial Equity reporting directly to the Secretary of Agriculture, and creating an Equity Action Plan. However, these practices can be easily rolled back with another unfavorable presidential administration. As such, we need a fundamentally transformative shift in how the food and farm bill is designed to stop the bleeding and near extinction of Black farmers.

As a former UCS colleague previously noted, sustainability and justice are not siloed issues but must be seen and addressed as systemically interrelated. Congress has the responsibility to address the burdens and barriers Black farmers face and transform our food and farming system into one of equity and justice.

There are several bills recently introduced in Congress that would build a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable food and farming system that farmers, workers, and communities need and deserve. UCS appreciates that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow of Michigan included many of these provisions in a Senate food and farm bill proposal that was released in early May, in advance of a full Senate bill which we anticipate will be introduced in the near future.

The upcoming food and farm bill is Congress’ chance to right the wrongs of the past and move us out of the darkness of discrimination and anti-Black racism and into the dawn of equity and justice for Black farmers. UCS urges Congress to step up and make equity and racial justice the forefront of the next food and farm bill to ensure the dignity and future of farmworkers, food system workers, and Black farmers.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDG 1: No Poverty

  • Target 1.4: Ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership, and control over land and other forms of property.
  • Indicator 1.4.2: Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with legally recognized documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure.

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

  • Target 2.3: By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists, and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets, and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.
  • Indicator 2.3.1: Volume of production per labor unit by classes of farming/pastoral/forestry enterprise size.

SDG 5: Gender Equality

  • Target 5.a: Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance, and natural resources in accordance with national laws.
  • Indicator 5.a.2: Proportion of countries where the legal framework (including customary law) guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

  • Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.
  • Indicator 10.2.1: Proportion of people living below 50 percent of median income, by age, sex, and persons with disabilities.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

  • Target 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
  • Indicator 12.2.1: Material footprint, material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP.

SDG 15: Life on Land

  • Target 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.
  • Indicator 15.2.1: Progress towards sustainable forest management.

Analysis

1. The SDGs addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article are SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and SDG 15 (Life on Land).

2. Specific targets under those SDGs based on the article’s content are:
– Target 1.4: Ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership, and control over land and other forms of property.
– Target 2.3: By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists, and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets, and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.
– Target 5.a: Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance, and natural resources in accordance with national laws.
– Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.
– Target 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
– Target 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

3. Indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets are:
– Indicator 1.4.2: Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with legally recognized documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure.
– Indicator 2.3.1: Volume of production per labor unit by classes of farming/pastoral/forestry enterprise size.
– Indicator 5.a.2: Proportion of countries where the legal framework (including customary law) guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control.
– Indicator 10.2.1: Proportion of people living below 50 percent of median income, by age, sex, and persons with disabilities.
– Indicator 12.2.1: Material footprint, material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP.
– Indicator 15.2.1: Progress towards sustainable forest management.

4. Table:

| SDGs | Targets | Indicators |
|——|———|————|
| SDG 1: No Poverty | Target 1.4: Ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership, and control over land and other forms of property. | Indicator 1.4.2: Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with legally recognized documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure. |
| SDG 2: Zero Hunger | Target 2.3: By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists, and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets, and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment. | Indicator 2.3.1: Volume of production per labor unit by classes of farming/pastoral/forestry enterprise size. |
| SDG 5: Gender Equality | Target 5.a: Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other

Copyright: Dive into this article, curated with care by SDG Investors Inc. Our advanced AI technology searches through vast amounts of data to spotlight how we are all moving forward with the Sustainable Development Goals. While we own the rights to this content, we invite you to share it to help spread knowledge and spark action on the SDGs.

Fuente: blog.ucsusa.org

 

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