U.S. Senator Tina Smith hosted a kitchen table discussion / listening session with Minnesota Black, Indigenous, and Farmers of Color on April 5 at The Good Acre, a local nonprofit that supports sustainable food production.
The topic was the upcoming farm bill, in particular access to land, capital, and resources. Farming is a capital-intensive business and many farmers cannot get into operation without access to family land. Aspiring farmers that do not have access to land or capital have a far more difficult time starting a farm operation, and aspiring farmers of color are overwhelmingly in this position.
The speakers at the event with Senator Smith, all Black, Indigenous and People of Color, spoke of the challenges to acquire land, particularly for people of immigrant backgrounds.
RAF Executive Director Mark Muller was in the small group of invited attendees at the event. RAF is committed to supporting and listening to the policy recommendations of farmers and others that are building a regenerative food system. RAF has a specific focus on supporting a farm bill that helps address racial disparities in agriculture while also creating a more climate-resilient system.
Senator Smith, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “We need a farm bill that is going to take account of the fact that there are a lot of small producers in this country that find it very difficult to connect with farm bill programs.”