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SARE Research Project 2020-2022

RAFI is proud to be on the front lines of addressing the impact of severe financial distress on farms and farm families. “Navigating Farm Financial and Mental Health Crises,” is a project that aims to reduce the loss of farms and lives by researching the combined financial, land tenure, and mental health issues faced by farm families in severe financial distress. Our approach addresses the experience of farm financial stress as “financial trauma,” and applies a trauma-focused and culturally appropriate lens to enhance the ability of farm families to move beyond crisis. Forty-five (45) farmers who have experienced farm financial crisis will be interviewed to determine what information they needed, if / how they were able to access information needed, and what impediments they may have encountered. 

The project’s goals are two-fold: to determine the most effective methods of communication and intervention in African American, Indigenous, and white farm communities to improve their decision-making capacity and ability to access resources when in crisis. Secondly, to expand the capacity of service providers to support farmers facing the loss of farm assets or their farm.

Based on what we learn, we will identify gaps in available resources and adapt or develop new materials that support farmers in crisis. 

We will also identify methods for effectively disseminating these resources. Working with our farmer partners to co-create draft materials, we will disseminate these through direct service to farmers, at our partner organizations, as well as through broad publication online.

This project is a collaborative effort with Farmers, the Land Loss Prevention Project, the NC Agromedicine Institute, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology.

This work is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2019-38640-29878 through the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE). USDA is an equal-opportunity employer and service provider.

Farm Financial & Mental Health Crises is a project of RAFI in partnership with North Carolina State University (NCSU), the Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP), the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute (NCAI), and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and funded by Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE).


Original announcement recruitment of farmers for the project:

The purpose of the project is to reduce the loss of farms and lives by researching and testing culturally responsive information and information delivery that addresses the combined financial, land tenure, and mental health issues faced by farm families in severe financial distress. The research is a collaboration between farmers who have experienced financial hardship and farm financial, legal, and mental health experts to examine how farmers facing crisis access and process farm assistance information

We need your help to help other farmers who have /are going through a crisis. If you are a farmer who has or is experiencing financial strain to the degree that it threatens the loss of significant farm assets or the farm, we invite you to be a participant. Your participation will be anonymous and held in complete confidence. We offer a $100 honorarium for one hour of your time to interview, and if you choose to, an additional $100 for your participation in a focus group to review farmer assistance materials created as a result of our findings.

Respond today. Deadline February 28, 2022.

For more details, contact Laketa Smith at [email protected] or 919.548.8591.

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