We are a coalition of 3 long-standing Detroit urban farming organizations with a collective mission to rebuild inter-generational land ownership for Black Farmers in Detroit: The Detroit Black Food Security Network (DBCFSN), Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, and Keep Growing Detroit.
WHAT DO WE DO?
We - the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN), Keep Growing Detroit, and Oakland Avenue Urban Farm - are 3 long standing Detroit urban farming organizations. On Juneteenth 2020 our years of food sovereignty and land security work culminated in the creation of the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund.
Through our Co-Founders, 4 Black women agriculturalists committed to right relationship with land, our lead co-conspirator and YOU, we are closing the unresolved wealth gap impacting Detroit Black Farmers' ability to purchase vacant land in one of America's Blackest cities. We honorably steward this transformation by supporting Detroit Black Farmers with land acquisition, farm support, infrastructure and equipment readiness, and building food sovereignty in community.
We are grounded in the historical plight of our ancestors, the last link in the chain of our struggle to reclaim not just the land that held them but our heritage. The seeds that they sowed, the soil that they touched and the stories that they told, too run with the land. We fight for ourselves and on behalf of the thousands of Black farmers - our ancestors and elders - who lost their land in the pursuit of our continued survival. As the intergenerational trauma, the invasive species of racism persists, we push forward to pull it up at the root and reclaim our shared legacy of intergenerational Black farmland ownership. From 15% of farmers in the 1910s to a mere 1% now; from our gentrifying neighborhoods and in the face of speculative development, we are smashing the narrative that the "best use" of vacant land is based on financial worth alone.
#DetroitBlackFarmers are our annual awardees. From expanding their farms and gardens to combat blight, providing produce, meals and knowledge to their neighbors, and courageously growing on land despite being unable to afford it, they lead the charge towards an abundant ecosystem rooted in land security, local produce, food sovereignty and community care.
We are, the Detroit Black Farmer, and we are, the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund.
HOW DO WE DO IT?
Just 4 years in and nearly 15 acres of urban farmland later, the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund is repairing our vacant city landscape.
Owning urban farmland is just the first step in stewarding it and the fund is constantly evolving to reflect that. From granting case by case requests from awardees for rain catchment, irrigation, heavyweight tools etc., we're continuing to make funds available to support these related farm costs. This year we are responding to, and expanding our support to cover increasing closing, title and legal costs of land purchases and the increasing costs of farm materials. All of the costs we fund through our land and infrastructure awards are essential pieces to the farmland ownership puzzle, and have traditionally been the barriers to Black farmland ownership we aim to eliminate on our path to food sovereignty.
Being that our journey to food sovereignty is interconnected, we expend considerable time building community. Our Work N' Chills at awardee farms ensures our awardees develop the bonds needed to support one another - and, gives us a chance to just chill. Cooperatively the DBFLF Grower Co-op are aggregating collard greens and tomatoes to market to select Detroit distributors and building necessary infrastructure to expand. This year, we've had many requests for DBFLF to host our OWN Black Farmers Markets! Much like our annual Juneteenth celebration, providing market opportunities to our farmers will help them cultivating the spaces and relationships needed to connect with our growing web of supporters.
We know that the legacy of intergenerational Black farmland ownership, that we hold, is heavy. It is why we hold it with such care.
But we know too that many hands make light work! Please join us in supporting 50 more Black farmers in 2023!
Thank you - to our ever growing nation of grassroots supporters - who believed, like us, that TOGETHER, we can support, create, fund and sustain, the Detroit that we want and deserve.
Keep supporting, keep sharing and keep uplifting our to balance the inequities we have all witnessed here in Detroit. We can MAKE this change - together.