Now is the time to break the bubble between urban and rural areas: small farmers and urban farms have a lot in common when competing with gentrification and large agribusiness in the name of food fairness. Here is how two agricultural entrepreneurs worked to reach a consensus in the name of a healthier food supply.

In the working-class community of Pinehurst, Columbia, South Carolina, there are many small town attractions such as parks, baseball fields, HBCU academies, and parades. The same is true for grocery stores: Pinehurst was once home to Piggly Wiggly and Sav-A-Lot. Then in 2019, all of them suddenly shut down without warning.

April Jones, a Pinehurst resident from Akron, Ohio, was immediately encouraged to take action. Jones attributed her childhood in Ohio to playing outdoors and harvesting corn, tomatoes and cherries from her grandparents’ farms, which allowed her to see and connect with the earth in a holistic way.Read the book of 2017 Fast food genocide Written by Joel Fuhrman, MD, she is ready to think about the relationship between disease and food in society: “If you have ADHD, check your food supply; if you have a high crime rate ,look at yours [food] Access points and their relevance to food results[s],” Jones recalled.

“If my community is not accessible,” she said, “I want to create it.”

The food gap left by the loss of local grocery stores or favorite roadside stalls is difficult to fill.The farmers’ market is part of the lifeline of our country (there are 8,600 registered in the farmer’s market directory Only in the U.S.), they are also vital to people living in the U.S. Food desertAs a result, residential areas have almost no choice of affordable healthy food and agricultural products. Urban farms and rural roadside stations are struggling to feed their communities, which is no small matter for small farmers trying to compete with the seemingly unstoppable financial and political influence of large agricultural companies. These food sources also have an important secondary purpose: to build communities.

“The place where we invest is where our heart lies: it is the soul of our country, community and value system,” Jones said.

According to data from the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, In 2018, 72% of U.S. counties reported having at least one farmers’ market, 45% of them received SNAP benefits.A neighborhood weekend market that can remain open during the pandemic Revenue is down by up to 79% compared to 2019, But still an integral part of communities such as Pinehurst.

Therefore, in addition to recovering from the pandemic, the next key transformation of agriculture will be to move away from industrial models that have a significant impact on climate change and threaten to destroy biodiversity, access to fresh food, and the lives of small farmers. Instead, we need a renewable model.In addition to the best in the industry, such as Recycling International and Rodel Institute Already trying to do their part, the community level also needs to take action.

Laying the foundation for the co-founder of Eric Mathis has begun Recycling Design and Innovation Institute In Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is a mature and established advocate for food justice and access issues, and he also co-founded Renew Forsyth and Piedmont Triad Farmers Network, He launched an agricultural cooperative with five black agricultural entrepreneurs in June 2021.

Founder of Triad Farmers Network
Eric Mathis

Triad’s pilot market provides food for Wake Forest Baptist’s Food Prescription Program, which targets black and brown communities living in the food desert, as well as older people with different health conditions.The plan aims to foster an entrepreneurial culture in which people are willing to take risks to address a quarter of children in North Carolina Undernourished To meet their nutritional needs.

“Change moves at the speed of trust, which is an important part of the equation,” Mathis said.

Matisse firmly advocates the use of soil as the ultimate tool for growing healthier crops. “At the baseline, many soils across the United States are dying,” Mathis explained. “In regenerative agriculture, the focus is actually on taking care of the soil, which has various positive health benefits in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere and climate change. But it also means increasing the nutrient density of food.”

Although agribusiness tends to damage the environment that nourishes us, it is still possible to invest more in lasting institutional change. Since 2015, Dream Corps has been committed to rewarding farmers for sustainable practices that will benefit their bottom line and the health of their communities through cleaner water, air, and soil.

This Common ground movement It aims to bring together people across racial, social, and partisan boundaries to ensure that all Americans have a dignified future, where job opportunities are abundant and diversity is respected. By connecting different communities, raising the voice of low-income families and people of color in the climate justice movement, and promoting the sharing of inspiration and fresh ideas, the mythical urban-rural divide has disappeared, and grassroots groups can work together to find solutions to sharing problems. Long-term problems.

“We all know from COVID-19 that we rise and fall together,” Jones said. “If the person in the store is unhealthy, it will affect the health of you and your family.” Although the solution is not simple, it is also simple: “We need to invest in the local community.”

Dream Corps Green for All is committed to the intersection of environmental, economic, and racial justice movements to promote solutions to poverty and pollution. We advocate strong, resilient and healthy communities through policy work and storytelling based on empathy, ensuring that as the clean economy develops, it brings good jobs, better health and better health to underserved communities in history. opportunity.Learn more by visiting www.thedreamcorps.org Or follow us on Twitter @GreenForAll.


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