By Scott Carlson
Minnesota U.S. Sen. Tina Smith recently gathered at The Good Acre on Larpenteur Avenue with local farmers and industry leaders to discuss challenges that farmers of color are facing and strategies for Congress to support them in the upcoming federal farm legislation.
Smith’s visit on April 5 to the Falcon Heights-based food hub was part of statewide listening sessions the senator is hosting across Minnesota to prepare for the farm bill. The Good Acre, is a local non-profit that works closely with BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Color) farmers.
The list of guests included:
• Moses Momanyi – Dawn2Dusk Farms, Cambridge
• Metric Giles – Urban Farm and Garden Alliance – Twin Cities
• Rodrigo Cala – Cala Farm and Part of Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC)
• Jane Windsperger – Organic Farm, Ogilvie
• Robert Lor – My Little Garden
• Farhio Khalif – Somali American Farming Institute
• David and Patra Wise – NativeWise Farm, Sawyer
• Angela Dawson – 40 Acre Co-op, Sandstone
• Lucas Humblet – Marine on Saint Croix (Native farmer)
Smith has been a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee since she took office in 2018 and has worked to ensure farmers of color in Minnesota have equal access to federal agriculture programs.
She has introduced legislation to address the impacts of historical discrimination on BIPOC farmers such as the “Justice for Black Farmers Act” and recently secured $2 million in federal funding for the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers program.
In a press statement, Smith’s office noted, “There is a great disparity today between white farmers and farmers of color. The number of black farmers in the U.S. has dropped dramatically over the past century. Today, 98 percent of all farmland in the country is owned by white owners.”