Browse Tag

black farmer

3 mins read

Fund Created to Help Black Farmers in Detroit Purchase Land in the City

On Friday, June 19, in honor of Juneteenth, a coalition of local food activists established a new fund to help Black farmers purchase land in Detroit. The Detroit Black Community Food Security NetworkOakland Avenue Urban Farm in the North End, and Keep Growing Detroit developed the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund, which will help foster more land ownership among black farmers in the city who face greater barriers in purchasing property.

Jerry Hebron, a director for Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, described her farm’s challenges with acquiring the property they grow on in a Facebook live post. “We had a lot of issues with the acquisition process, particularly because we started out on a commercial district and the city of Detroit — although our work was very good — felt like there may be a higher and better use for the land,” she said. “So it took us about 15 years to make the first acquisition.” Since 2015, Hebron says that the farm has been successful in acquiring land by working with the city, but she is aware of other black farmers who have not had as much success.

Many people in the community lack the capital to compete with developers who have increasingly bought up large swaths of property in the city limits. “For several years I’ve found that it’s just easier for white growers to purchase land. It’s easier for them to navigate the system. And I find that it’s really an uneven playing field,” Tepfirah Rushdan, director of Keep Growing Detroit, said in an announcement shared to Youtube. “We all know that things are changing in the city. Development is happening at a quicker pace, and I’m worried that people who are growing on their land and they don’t own it, that they’re going to start to get displaced.”

Applications will be released in July for the funding and will be evaluated through a blind review process using an established rubric. The group plans to announce the winners in September. The project has already received nearly $16,000 since Friday on Gofundme. Donations can be made to the site or via CashApp to $detroitblackfarmer.

The need for more secure agriculture in the city has become even more evident since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has sent shockwaves through the food system and disrupted the supply chain. At the same time, the nation is experiencing an uprising sparked by anger over the killing of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black people.


Source: Detroit Eater


Related: The Ultimate List of Black Owned Farms & Food Gardens

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2 mins read

How One Man Turned His Backyard Garden Into a Community Farmers Market

When Jamiah Hargins moved to the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2015, he planted a backyard garden so he and his family (wife Ginnia and daughter Triana) could enjoy fruits and vegetables.

But that small plot produced more than they could eat. Not wanting all the herbs, lemons, and beans to go to waste, Jamiah posted on Nextdoor, the hyperlocal social network, to gauge his neighbors’ interest in a crop swap.

The turnout was substantial. Fifteen people showed up, bearing armfuls of artichokes, kale, onions, and pumpkins from their small backyards and container gardens.

Farmers Market

“I was delighted by how many people were willing to meet strangers on a Sunday morning,” Jamiah says. And they ended up exchanging thoughts as well as crops: Kristin Kloc figured she’d offload some oranges and be on her way. “But then we started talking about growing food and the importance of social equality,” she recalls.

The group steadily expanded to include about 100 people, and Jamiah created an official organization, Crop Swap LA. This past December, the group transformed an empty parking lot into a farmers market, complete with 10 stalls, food trucks, live music, and free yoga.

Members also help neighbors start their own urban gardens, and they’re investigating ways to use nearly every arable square inch of West Adams—business rooftops, parking lots, front yards—to grow more food. The goals are to transform an area thought of (by some) as a food desert and encourage resident involvement.


Source: Real Simple

Related: The Ultimate List of Black Owned Farms & Food Gardens


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7 mins read

Pastor Blends Faith and Farms to end Food Insecurity in Black Churches

Several years ago, Rev. Heber Brown III decided he needed to do more than pray. The now 38-year-old pastor at Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, noticed more members of his congregation were suffering from diet-related illnesses.

In Baltimore City, one in three residents is obese and 12 percent has Type 2 diabetes — two conditions that disproportionately affect black Americans.

Additionally, 34 percent of black residents in Baltimore live in food deserts (compared to 8 percent of white residents) and don’t have regular access to fresh, healthy and affordable foods.

So Brown turned to seeds, in addition to scripture, and started a garden on a 1,500-square-foot plot of land in front of the church. Today, that garden grows everything from summer squash to kale, and yields 1,100 pounds of produce — all to feed the community that meets weekly to worship.

“It was amazing,” said Brown, who, in addition to starting the garden, partnered with black farmers in the area to bring pop-up markets to the church after Sunday service.

Rev. Heber Brown III and Aleya Fraser, co-founder of Black Dirt Farm, hold up produce from the farm.

“We saw attendance bump up in our worship, we saw a great energy … and it went so [well] here, that I wondered what would happen if we could spread it through other churches and create a network of churches that do the same thing.”

In 2015, Brown launched The Black Church Food Security Network — a grassroots initiative that empowers black churches to establish a sustainable food system to combat the systemic injustices and disparities that plague black Americans, who, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are sicker and poorer than non-black Americans.

The network currently operates at more than 10 congregations in Baltimore, most of which are located in the city’s “food priority areas.” There are also participating churches and farms in D.C., Virginia and North Carolina — and the list is growing.

“We have people contacting us from all over — different religions, different parts of the city. The phone is always ringing, the emails are always coming in from churches saying, ‘Hey, we want in,’” said Brown, who added that he also receives interest from people of different races.

“They see it as important, they recognize that farmers markets are great, but there are gaps that farmers markets are not filling, and African American farmers, in particular, have unique struggles.”

His goal is to meet a need on both ends of the spectrum by supplying under-served communities with the food they need, while moving and marketing the food produced.

Merging faith and food may seem unconventional to some, but Brown said every time he talks about connecting churches with agriculture, he gets “ready amens and strong head nods.”

Church members tending to the Black Food Security Network garden at Pleasant Hope Baptist Church.

“It just makes sense,” said Brown, who finds inspiration for his work from visionaries such as Fannie Lou Hamer, who founded the Freedom Farm Cooperative in 1967, and Vernon Johns.

“Spirituality and agriculture have a deep relationship that is outlined in sacred scripture and that is practiced in weekly gatherings in worship spaces, and so I have no problem getting people to buy into this vision.”

These days, Brown does less digging and harvesting and focuses more on connecting communities with farmers and matching volunteers with various church gardens. He also helps churches figure out how to make use of the space they already own — classrooms, kitchens and land — most of which are only utilized once a week.

“And I think that’s a gross waste of resources,” Brown said.

“If your Monday through Saturday approach can include agriculture initiatives — farming or gardening or supporting a local farmer — that’s a big-time plus.”

It’s also an empowering and sustainable model when it comes to fighting hunger. Too often, food insecure communities receive charity, which is great in emergency situations, but is not a long-term fix.

“And I think solutions for the long haul have to spring from those who are most directly affected by the issue,” Brown said.

“Food is always going to be a priority for our communities. And churches and faith-based organizations, I got a strong hunch, will always be here.”

Brown sees The Black Church Food Security Network “going far into the future,” one community at a time. He dreams of a day when churches across the country have markets where “people can come and praise and worship and sing and get a good chunk of the groceries they need for their household at the same time.”

And for those outside of the black church who want to help, Brown said supporting, not leading, is the most productive strategy.

“If you come in with the mentality that I cannot be fully free until everybody is fully free, it makes for better partners,” he said.

“And if we are strategic in being courageous subversives for each other, then I think the world that our children will inherit will be better than the one that we’re in right now.”


Source: WTOP 

8 mins read

4 Smart & Easy Ways to Begin your Shoppe Black Journey!

One of the many thought provoking songs on Stevie Wonder’s 1976 double album Songs in the Key of Life is “Black Man”. The first line is “First man to die for the flag we now hold high (Crispus Attucks) was a Black man.”

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The lyrics go on to tell of the many unnoticed or underappreciated contributions people of color have made to America. Then there’s this striking, still relevant passage:

“We pledge allegiance all our lives to the magic colors red, blue, and white, but we all must be given the liberty that we defend. For with justice not for all men history will repeat again. It’s time we learned this world was made for all men.”

Unfortunately, many people would agree that Stevie’s impassioned declaration still does not reflect reality in America 40 years later. With modern technology and social media we continue bear witness to the brutal racism and racialized violence that still exists at an unfathomable level in America.

Just as Black Lives Matter, Black (earned) dollars matter. We must use our money to further prove just how much Black Lives Matter by supporting Black owned businesses. By doing this, we will demonstrate to non-Black owned businesses that our spending (or the absence thereof) is hugely significant. This is a call to action!


Ways to Begin your Shoppe Black Journey

Shopping Black is more than buying African print fashion, jewelry, and art, although buying those things is meaningful too. The goal of this article is to encourage you to dig deep and see where you can send significant amounts of money to Black owned businesses. Below are four steps to shopping Black and making a difference.

  1. Understand what your spending habits are. If you already have a budget you follow, this should be easy to do. Otherwise, jot down a list of all the categories of your spending. Then, next to each category, list the companies and professionals your money typically goes to each month. Here is a sample:
Category Provider
  • State Credit Union
  • Big Bank
  • Employment Credit Union
Retirement/Investments Big Bank
Mortgage/Rent Big Bank
Utilities Big Energy
  • Local Black Farmers
  • Latino Grocers
  • National Grocer
  • Black Personal Trainer
  • Black Zumba Instructor
  • National Health Insurance company
Car maintenance/gas
  • Big Gas
  • Chain Oil Change Co.
  • Big Tire Store
Loans/Credit Cards
  • Aunt Sallie Mae/Uncle Navient
  • Big Bank
Professional Services
  • Local Tax Guy
  • Black Attorney
  • Local Therapist(s)
  • Black Printer
  • Local Stylist
  • Black Natural Hair Care Shoppe
  • Local Black Fashion Designers
  • National clothing stores
  • Afro-Brazilian Drumming Group
  • Local bars
  • Black Made Wine and Spirits
  • BlackandSexyTV
  • KweliTV (Black)
  • Virp (Black)
  • Family Charity supporting Black kids going to college and traveling abroad
  • Various Crowdfunding Campaigns for Black artists and initiatives


Having an understanding of what you spend your money on and where you spend it is a great first step to shopping Black because you can then look for Black owned options that fit your specific needs and desires.

Simply committing to not buying products by big, multinational companies or not shopping at big box stores does not get you closer to spending your money with Black businesses.

Bonus: If you are someone who does not budget every month, completing this step puts you in a position to do so!


  1. Research Black Owned Businesses

Next, and this will take some patience and effort, you should research Black owned businesses and professionals that can fulfill your needs and wants. Refinancing your mortgage with a Black bank may not be a feasible or realistic short-term goal. However, who are the professionals within those companies that currently loan or hold your money?

You’re going to want to build relationships with them. This goes for insurance agents, realtors, mortgage brokers, etc. With respect to the entertainment category, consider “BlackandSexyTV and Chill” instead of “Netflix and Chill.”

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(Sidenote: the author is #TeamMilan! The actress is her BFF and linesister). If you want a simple place to start researching Black owned business, start at your plate. Look for local, Black farmers as a source for your food.


  1. Build Your Shopping Black Team

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Outside of gift and clothing products, it can be challenging to find Black business, especially if you do not live in a diverse area. Therefore, you should build a Shoppe Black team. Your team can be made up of friends and family, or folks from your place of worship. It can be your sorority sisters or fraternity brothers.

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Any logical connection to similarly interested people will work. If you have difficulty finding people in your personal network seek out like-minded people in groups such as Girltrek, Outdoor Afro, and on platforms such as

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And don’t think your team of people who are shopping Black have to only be Black. While the political statement of Blacks demonstrating the tremendous monetary power we have in the US is very critical, it is also important that Black businesses thrive and that requires everyone’s support.

4 . Spend, Document, and Share


Spending your Black dollars after you followed the first three steps should be easy. You should also document what you do and share your successes and learning moments with your network and the world. The Shoppe Black team would love help you do just that. When you share your Black business spending use the hashtag #ShoppeBlack. Also mention Shoppe Black on Twitter and Instagram (@shoppeblack).


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The Bottom Line

No matter what the reach of your spending is, you can make a difference in Black spending by directing money from just one budget item to a Black business or professional. The more you direct to Black Business, the greater the impact this entire movement will have.

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The author of this article recently had a “Shoppe Black Saturday” during which she endeavored to consume food and drink grown and/or sold by Black businesses. It’s a lot tougher than you think. Learn more about her experience here.

– Contributed by Mavis Gragg

Mavis Gragg is an attorney at the Gragg Law Firm, PLLC in Durham, North Carolina where she specializes in estate planning and estate administration. She is very passionate about maintaining and growing Black wealth through sound legal strategies and problem solving. When she is not being a justice girl, she can be found at an art gallery, trotting the globe, or on the dance floor.

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