Measure Would Award Grants to African American Farm Initiatives That Break Down Barriers Encountered by Communities of Color
Senator Foung Hawj (DFL-St. Paul) today pushed his legislation to award grants to Minnesota groups working to expand the number of farmers of color in the state, saying the measure would provide resources and tools for African American farmers needing help in their farming operations, while also increasing access to fresh food and cutting the number of food deserts in communities of color.
On Monday, Sen. Hawj told the Senate Agriculture Committee that farmers of color currently operate less than one percent of farms in Minnesota, while – at the same time – the state’s communities of color make up a much higher percentage of the population. Beyond that, people in these communities are at least twice as likely as white Minnesotans to experience food insecurity.
“We all know that there’s a shortage of farmers of color in our state and that communities of color need resources and tools to help them get into the farming businesses and to help them sustain their operations,”said Sen. Hawj. “At the same time, we know many Minnesotans are experiencing food insecurity. Data shows that food insecurity affects one in ten Minnesotans – one in seven of whom are children. That percentage doubles in communities of color. This legislation aims to address those problems by supporting farmers of color and urban agriculture.”
Sen. Hawj’s measure would provide Department of Agriculture funding to the African Growers and Producers Alliance and African American urban agriculture initiatives to help break down barriers to getting into farming by providing resources such as mentorships, and assistance in finding land and financing for their operations.