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Honoring Black Farming History

Sydney Trimble, LAA's Climate Impact Corp support staff, honors the resiliency in Black Farming history and their incredible sacrifice and contributions to agriculture in the United States.



Did you know? Braiding Rice edition Sources: Text: Carney, Judith A. “‘With Grains in Her Hair’ Rice in Colonial Brazil”. Slavery and Abolition, vol.25, no.1. 2004, pg. 1-27. https://geog.ucla.edu/.../default/files/users/carney/33.pdf Map: Willem Lodewijk Loth. Map of the Guianas showing the situation in 1888. Geheugen van Nederland. 1889




Braiding seeds into hair: Rice in colonial Brazil: https://geog.ucla.edu/.../default/files/users/carney/33.pdf “From Suriname to Cayenne and across the Amazon to the Brazilian states of Amapa´, Para´ and Maranha˜o, an oral tradition claims that an African woman introduced rice by hiding grains in her hair. The precious seeds escaped detection and this, they explain, is how rice came to be planted. Even the rice plantation economy of colonial South Carolina suggests a similar account. In 1726 Swiss correspondent, Jean Watt, noted that ‘it was by a woman that rice was transplanted into Carolina’” Judith A. Carney


“The history of rice cultivation surrounding the Atlantic basin, however, suggests that the crop’s appearance in South Carolina was not the outcome of European agency and ingenuity but the result of a sophisticated knowledge system of wetland cultivation brought by involuntary black migrants.” Judith A. Carney Maroon people in French Guina & Suriname: https://blurredbylines.com/.../west-african-slaves-rice.../



Maroon people is the collective term for those who escaped slavery from Dutch plantations near modern day French Guiana and Suriname.

Rice farming is women’s work and most of the Maroon rice farmers are women. They have oral accounts of braided hairstyles being used to hide rice and transfer the seeds trans-atlantically so that they still may have some sense of self-sustainability in enslavement.

“Through this method, enslaved West Africans kept alive the very crop that sustained their bodies and their culture in one of the few things they still had autonomy over: their hair. By braiding rice into their hair, some ingenious West Africans helped ensure that parts of their culture and homeland could be carried with them.”-Shari Rose https://www.sierraclub.org/.../preservation-culture...



Black Farming Stats: Did you know?


Past: 1 million black farmers 100 years ago

Current: 48,000 out of 3.4 million farmers identify as black in US (USDA) https://www.nass.usda.gov/.../2017Census_Black_Producers.pdf

Past: Black farmland ownership was at its highest at 14% of total agricultural land Today: only 0.5% of total farmland


Everyone deserves healthy and fresh foods. BIPOC communities often face more issues concerning food in terms of accessibility and affordability. Some find relief sharing CSAs, joining community gardens or gardening themselves.




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