The continuing farm crisis affects all but the largest conventional and organic farms. Wages for farmworkers are embarrassingly below our ideals. It is time to redesign parity pricing, supply management, and environmental protection programs for the 21st century. During the New Deal, those programs worked for family-scale farms. Re-imagining them to transition producers especially BIPOC, urban, women, and beginning farmers - to organic, pasture-based systems could change our food system, balancing the scales and putting profit back into farmers’ pockets. Hear about the Disparity to Parity Project from three diverse farmers. Join in the discussion about how we strategize to achieve racial justice, curb corporate capture, diversify farming, steward land and water by updating supply management, and ensure fair prices.
11:15am - 12:30pm
Federation of Southern Coops
Ben Burkett is a fourth-generation farmer in Petal, Mississippi.His family has been growing food on the same plot of land since 1889, when his great-grandfather received a homestead from the U.S. government just 24 years after the end of the Civil War. It was one of the first African American-owned farms in the state. Since then, the farm has grown to roughly 320 acres. Depending on the season, his fields grow okra, kale, turnips, rutabaga, watermelon, sweet corn, eggplant, and a wide variety of peppers. He sells his produce to restaurants in New Orleans as well as local grocery stores and farmers markets. Before Hurricane Katrina destroyed his fences, the farm also hosted livestock: Chickens, goats, sheep, cattle, hogs, ducks, and turkeys. In 2014, he won a James Beard Foundation award for his work to support family farming.
Agricultural Justice Project