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Family farmers call for tougher CAFO regulations in Farm Bill; The Midwest and Northeast brace for record high temperature in heatwave; Financial-justice advocates criticize crypto regulation bill; Ohio advocates: New rules strengthen protections for sexual-assault victims.

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'Farm and Faith' partnerships combat food injustices, racial land loss in NC

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Friday, March 15, 2024   

The Rural Advancement Foundation International is taking action against food injustices impacting farmers of color and rural communities through its Farm and Faith Partnerships Project.

In North Carolina, about 1.2 million people face food insecurity, and 394,000 of them are children.

Jarred White, Farm and Faith Partnerships project manager, said the Farm and Faith Project sprouted during the pandemic, responding to challenges of food insecurity and racial land loss.

"We hope that these relationships result in farmers of color gaining additional sources of income and increased access to new local markets," he said, "and rural faith community members and other community members gaining increased food security and access to fresh healthy foods."

Through partnerships with local faith communities and organizations such as The Duke Endowment, he said, congregations are forming local food-box purchasing groups or hosting farmers' markets in their parking lots. He said this type of work helps farmers of color who grapple with systemic racism in the food system.

Black farmers own less than 1% of the nation's farmland compared with about 95% of farmland owned by their white counterparts. According to Data for Progress, Black farmers face challenges getting loans, are often denied credit, lack access to legal defense against fraud, and are under threat of violence and intimidation.

Over time, White said, these factors have made it challenging for many to sustain their farm land.

"Farmers of color often have less access to markets, fewer beneficial relationships, and fewer financial resources and opportunities," he said, "which all results in higher rates of debt, lower land ownership rates."

In addition to fostering mutually beneficial connections to enhance food networks across the state, White said there are environmental advantages, too. He highlighted that supporting local farmers reduces greenhouse-gas emissions and minimizes the impact of transporting food over long distances.


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