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Central Valley | Education & Student Activism

Beyond Pigford II, California Black Farmers Mark A New Way Forward
by khubaka, michael harris ( blackagriculture [at] yahoo.com )
Thursday Sep 26th, 2013 2:20 PM
Beyond Pigford II, it is time to address why separate and unequal 1862 vs. 1890 U.S. Ag policy remains, when disparaging Urban vs. Rural small farm opportunities mandate high unemployment and epidemic diet related disease throughout America. Nearly 1 in 3 people of African and/or Latino ancestry wallow in poverty in the “Greatest Garden in the World” where 50% of America's fruits, vegetables and nuts are produced.
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Sacramento, CA ~ The Autumnal Equinox, September 22, 2013 marks the successful payment of Pigford II claimants.

In the historic home of Edwin Bryant Crocker, today’s Crocker Art Museum, a diverse intercultural, interfaith and inter-generational gathering read aloud the Emancipation Proclamation. E.B. Crocker founded the California Republican Party on the platform of ending slavery, legally documenting his earlier work apart of the Underground Railroad.

President Abraham Lincoln created the United States Department of Agriculture just prior to issuing an executive order promising the beginning of the end to chattel slavery throughout America. The early Republican Party looked toward future business opportunity and today's Republican Party looks toward Africa for future business opportunity.

This 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Pigford II payments mark the beginning of another chapter in the long saga toward equity and equal opportunity to all aspects the United States Department of Agriculture for Black Agriculturalists.
Nationwide, award letters have started rolling out to successful claimants from a $1.2 billion dollar black farmers discrimination suit, also known as the Pigford II.

The maximum payment is $62,500, but $12,500 is taken out for taxes, leaving farmers with a total of $50,000.

In California, a new way forward, healing what is hurting our communities includes expanding access to both Urban and Rural Agriculture programs specifically targeting, “previous condition of servitude” and “socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.” Nationwide, many elder Black Farmers Groups continue to enjoy the crumbs from the rich man's table in a 20th century methodology.

Lack of cognition and official quantification of “Slavery in California” and the ongoing impacts from historic disparaging treatment throughout the allocation of USDA and CDFA resources requires a different approach.

Why does separate and unequal 1862 vs. 1890 U.S. Ag policy remain, when disparaging Urban vs. Rural small farm opportunities mandate high unemployment and epidemic diet related disease throughout America. Nearly 1 in 3 people of African and/or Latino ancestry wallow in poverty in the “Greatest Garden in the World” where 50% of America's fruits, vegetables and nuts are produced.

The California Black Agriculture Working Group highlights the amazing historic contributions by Black Agriculture to the forward flow of humanity while providing systemic solutions for consideration.

Less than 1/3 of 1 percent of California Agriculture producers are of discernable African ancestry, yet just as surely as our “California Grown” Kwanzaa celebrations are global events, our future contributions towards restoring Agriculture as the foundation of our culture will help lead expansion of appropriate technology, trade and commerce from the #1 Agriculture economy in America to Pan African global markets.

California Black Agriculture Working Group, developing youth citizen ambassadors to the world, is ready to spark a 21st century California Gold Rush, building on the legacy of our ancestor’s contribution during the 19th century California Gold Rush.