Black farmers sow the seeds of health and empowerment.

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Black farmers sow the seeds of health and empowerment.

Chris Newman used to be a software engineering manager with a high salary, but he worked for a long time, ate fast food and went to see a lot of doctors.

Eventually, enough. He and his wife traveled from Washington, d.c., to charlottesville, Virginia, to become farmers. Now he is healthier, has fewer stomach problems and can eat more dairy products. He raises pigs, ducks and chickens.

“Because I grew all these things, I tend to eat it,” Newman says. “I don’t eat in Popeyes anymore. I think it’s disgusting. I used to like Popeyes. “I’m really bad at eating bad meat. If I don’t know where the meat comes from, I’ll have a vegetarian meal in the restaurant.”

For him, agriculture is more than just his own health. Newman hopes to encourage more people of color to become farmers and to promote sustainable agricultural practices that make healthy food unaffordable for those who cannot afford it.

“It’s not just about our happy chicks, it’s about: how do we solve this system? He said.

When he changed careers, Mr. Newman says, he realized how white agriculture was in the United States, and he thought he was a colored man. He said, “you go into a total eclipse here, you can’t see the black people. “You go to the farmer’s market, you don’t see so many black people, you go to the farm, you don’t see the black people.” According to the bureau of labor statistics in 2016, agriculture is more than 90 percent white and the second-highest white job in the United States.

On Chris Newman’s farm, chickens wander on the floor. Newman quit his job and began farming. He wants to encourage more people of color to become farmers, promote sustainable farming practices, and make affordable healthy food available.

Newman’s chickens spend most of their time on a large floor. They can run around, look for bugs in the grass, and use garbage to fertilize the land. By design, his chickens do business all over the field, which makes Virginia’s soil more fertile.

Newman said: “the animals have created such a basis, the place where you can plant trees and crops, and there is no chemical fertilizer needed to health”, because the soil is very healthy.

But growing food this way is also expensive. He sells eggs for $5 a dozen.

“It’s something that bothers me and has a huge impact on our work,” Newman said. A lot of my family, a lot of people I grew up with — they couldn’t afford it. “If it is us $10 per pound, then perhaps is $one million per pound, in order to let everyone can come into contact with this stuff, is much larger than I expected, larger than the farm, in central Virginia is larger than all of the farm or the middle of the Atlantic ocean or elsewhere. ”

He wants more people like him to use these methods to grow food. Maybe it’s a business, or a hobby in a backyard or community garden, so they can make money.

Specifically, he wants to help more people of color participate in agricultural production so that they can feel the same connection between the land he’s going through and the health transition.

African americans are 1.5 times more likely to be obese than whites, and their vegetables eat less vegetables than other RACES.

To get more people interested in color, Newman says, you first have to show them that it’s a viable career. But there is a more complex and deep-rooted problem – the vast majority of farmers do not, because they are white.

A few years ago, he drove past a wealthy community. He pulled the pickup truck to the curb for lunch.

John Boyd Jr., a small farmer, wants African americans to reconnect with agriculture.

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John Boyd Jr., a small farmer, wants African americans to reconnect with agriculture.

“The lady likes jogging, she gives me this, and every black man in America knows this… It’s a mixture of fear and inconsistency, like ‘you don’t belong, there’s something wrong,’ “he said. . “As soon as she comes and shows me, I say, ‘the police will arrive in less than five minutes. You see, five minutes later, here comes a police – this is not your part of the beat, it’s not your police car – slow down, and looked at me, don’t stop completely, because I know how to remove white again first thing you do is smile, your behavior is like the place you have – your behavior is white, you change your voice, change your code, you become more clear, you talk like an intellectual. Smile, always smile. ”

That’s not the only time for someone to call the cops. While he was working in the field, he was delivering food. Now he avoids these things.

Newman is trying to address the lack of diversity among farmers by recruiting interns, focusing on women, people of color and others from underrepresented communities.

“This is to realize that the obstacles they face are that there is no one else, and we need this ascension because the world is not our oyster,” he said.

Farmers act as a kind of political behavior.

Leah Penniman is also trying to diversify the farming community and reconnect people with food. She is a farmer and activist for the soul fire farm in eastern New York.

A year later, Ms. Pennieman began receiving calls from black women across the country. “I just need to hear your voice,” she told her. “I know I’m not alone. I know it’s possible to be a farmer.”

In addition to farming, she was also responsible for training basic agricultural skills for blacks and latinos. Demand is booming. She can train 120 people a year, and another 100 to 200 are waiting for next year’s show. For the black farmers she knew, agriculture was not just a business – it was also a tool of social justice.

Penniman sells products to about 260 people in the New York community. As a part of her mission, she accept food stamps, and developed a system, she can still make money, 15% of customers and support her – even if some people unable to pay in any one week.

Customers who are able to pay more of their money can help those without a budget. In any case, she says, her low-income clients get a box full of vegetables every week.

“A lot of people say that if it’s not, they just eat boiled pasta because it’s the minimum amount of calories,” she said.

Newman says his farm has just gone bankrupt, so now they can focus on expansion. He wants to help more people benefit from changing the food system while changing the food system.

He said, “look here, this is a perfect metaphor. “We have only green fields before us, and only such an open economic opportunity, waiting for people to return to this land.

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