ANN ARBOR – The Washtenaw County Black Farmers Fund is currently raising its first round of funding through Oct. 8 with the goal of raising $50,000 to support 5-10 Black farmers in Washtenaw and seven surrounding counties.
The fund, launched by a coalition of local farmers, nonprofits and community members, aims to create a more just and equitable local food system.
Supporters of the fund include Growing Hope, Argus Farm Stop, We the People Opportunity Farm, Michigan State University Extension, Fair Food Network and more.
According to the coalition, the funds will be used to:
- Provide down payment support to purchase land
- Reduce debt related to farming
- Purchase of farm equipment
- Develop farm Infrastructure
- Cover other operational and labor costs
Of the 2,134 farmers who currently live and work in Washtenaw County, eighteen identify as Black, according to WCBFF’s website.
“The intergenerational trauma of Black farmland loss cuts so deep because it isn’t over,” reads the website. “Gentrification and speculative development continue to limit the availability of city-owned vacant land, and all too often what’s considered the ‘best use’ of city-owned land comes down to money.
“Black farmers in Washtenaw County face immeasurable barriers to land acquisition, autonomy, and ownership. This comes to light as we witness black growers who are unable to purchase the property they grow on. This is land where black farmers and gardeners grow produce to serve neighbors, families, and the community as a whole. Oftentimes, the funding to buy the land is the only barrier. This has to change.”
For more information about the project or to make a donation, click here.