RAFI-USA’s Climate and Equity Policy Project puts farmers of color at the center of policy conversations by providing funding and support to groups predominantly led by or serving farmers of color in order to engage in climate-related policy advocacy for the 2023 Farm Bill.
Grantee projects include civic engagements and grassroots base building for the Farm Bill, educational workshops and trainings for the board, staff, and farmers to develop a better understanding of how the Farm Bill applies at a local level and how the Farm Bill process works, funding to pay farmers for their time participating more deeply in policy discussions and recommendations, narrative development and storytelling projects, and translation for farmers who don’t speak English as their first language.
Agri-Cultura Network (New Mexico)
Agri-Cultura Network will co-host dialogues on how to make the Farm Bill work for us as BIPOC small-scale/big-impact farmers, and hire experts at RAFI, HEAL, and other coalition member organizations to lead engagement and training sessions. And will be working against harmful practices of industrial agriculture and their overuse of synthetic, nitrogen-rich fertilizers on farms growing everything from cannabis to almonds and vegetables. Along with the continued use of GMO seeds which threatens our ancestral seeds and our collective effort as we address seed adaptation with climate change.
Alliance for Agriculture (Puerto Rico)
With the help of this grant, the Alliance for Agriculture will be able to consolidate the informal work and conversations already happening about Climate, Food, and Equity; more specifically around Food and Nutrition (Title IV), Rural Development (Title VI), and Energy (Title IX) among others.
Cooperativa Orgánica Madre Tierra (Puerto Rico)
Cooperativa Orgánica Madre Tierra will hire a part-time staff specialized in policy work to help design and implement policy-related trainings, collect relevant data, and help communicate and share resulting policy materials to our members and the greater farming community in Puerto Rico. Develop a better understanding of how the Farm Bill applies at a local level in Puerto through translating materials into Spanish and aligning local farmer issues and concerns.
Farm to School NYC (New York)
Farm School NYC will use the funding to hire its first part-time Community Organizer, which will substantially build internal capacity on policy issues and collaborate with other state and federal alliances working on agricultural legislation. This organizer will work closely with the Communications Manager on narrative change work, co-developing a communications plan.
La Semilla Food Center (New Mexico)
La Semilla Food Center will engage BIPOC youth and small-scale/big-impact farmers living or farming in Doña Ana and El Paso Counties, in both narrative development and storytelling, and civic engagement/ grassroots base-building for the 2023 Farm Bill. The goal will be to engage and support BIPOC, QTGNC, young, and/or beginning farmers in the region to advocate on their own behalf for meaningful changes to farm policy. Funding will also be used to support leadership development for young people who are most impacted by climate chaos and food insecurity. Youth engagement will center the intersecting values of climate justice and food justice.
Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust / Food for the Spirit (Maine)
Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust/ Food for the Spirit will develop a training curriculum based on the curriculum developed by Marshall Ganz and his Story of Self, Us & Now Public Narrative framework to collect “stories of self” from our participants. These stories will be used to develop a “narrative quilt” video and media campaign, sharing multimedia assets with legislators, other decision-makers, and partnering organizations and coalitions.
Operation Grow Black Growers (Missouri)
Operation Grow Black Growers will expand the St. Louis Black Farmer Food Policy Council to include 2023 Farm Bill advocacy with the goal of growing the capacity of our council to take on future organizing and advocacy work. The council will focus on land access & retention, access to USDA resources & programs, and debt relief for BIPOC farmers based in St. Louis and Missouri. Our particular issue focus within the 2023 Farm Bill will be on expanding resources for Black urban farmers as access to large acreage to grow on is difficult in urban environments.
Punjabi American Growers Group (California)
PAGG will use these funds to host three in-person workshops. Membership attendance for each workshop will be around 50 to 100 farmers for better focus on smaller groups. PAGG will work with the USDA team to distribute the information and translate materials from English to Punjabi.
Salmonberry Tribal Associates (Alaska)
Salmonberry Tribal Associates will allocate funding for supporting Alaska Native leadership and participation in different meetings to improve inclusion in policy for indigenous peoples of Alaska and the Arctic. This will provide the opportunity to provide meaningful and culturally relevant input and to improve equity and informed consent to policy and development in Alaska and the Arctic Region.
Soul Fire Farm (New York)
Soul Fire Farm will use funds to support its alumni network in its policy advocacy efforts through small mini-grants. Soul Fire Farm will regrant funds to 10-50 alumni in amounts ranging from $500-$2,500 to work on policy advocacy including providing input into local, state and/or federal legislation, informing constituencies about legislation that is moving in their communities, and providing input into legislative processes.
Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, Inc. (Georgia)
In partnership with RAFI, the SWGP will use the funding to train our board, staff, and farmers about climate-smart policies, programs, and ways to engage those resources at the grassroots level. In addition, the Southwest Georgia Project will host 2 sessions to discuss challenges for farmers of color in southwest Georgia, in order to formulate policy recommendations for the Farm Bill. Finally, the Southwest Georgia Project is prepared to host quarterly interactive workshops to share climate-smart practices with farmers that are a part of our network.
SPROUT NOLA (Louisiana)
SPROUT NOLA will continue to build organizational capacity for local, state, and federal-level policy work primarily through skill-building resources from RAFI, as well as connecting and training BIPOC growers to participate in D.C. fly-ins.
Toxic Free North Carolina (North Carolina)
With this funding participants Toxic Free North Carolina the Women of Color Farmers group will have the opportunity to attend 1 farm bill training, attend 2-5 lobby days or targeted legislative meetings, and create communications materials. The funding will provide stipends for farmers’ time, mileage, and travel meals for activities.
Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition, Inc. (US Virgin Islands)
VIGFC will focus on two priority areas: organizational capacity and grassroots advocacy and will leverage an established network of farmers across St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John, as well as partnerships with the U.S. Congressional Delegate and national agriculture coalitions.
Grant Review Committee
To ensure the integrity of the review process, RAFI-USA created a four-person review committee composed of BIPOC food systems advocates with decades of experience in food justice. A short bio about each person can be found here.
- Helga Garcia-Garza — Founder, Agri-Cultura Network
- Zoe Holloman — Coordinating Team member, Midwest Farmers of Color Collective
- Ife Kilimanjaro Ph.D. — Co-Executive Director, Soul Fire Farm
- Sommer Sibilly — Founder and Executive Director, US Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition