Inspiration: Black farmers are embracing climate-resilient farming

By Haoxuan Gao, Alliance Intern from Macalester College

From heat waves and droughts to famines and hurricanes, communities of color are disproportionately impacted by climate change across the globe. At the same time some are on the frontlines of climate resiliency. A new generation of Black farmers uses innovative farming practices to work towards agricultural sustainability in the US. Here are three of their stories: 

Pie Ranch, Pascadero, California

Leonard Diggs, who owns Pie Ranch in Pescadero, California, is creating a landscape-level ecosystem for his incubator farm. His vision includes native grasslands, a forest, perennial plants, and riparian corridors so that the emissions from crop management can be sequestered. In this way, Diggs can be a step closer to carbon neutrality. “We need agriculture that does not lose our carbon, and does not deplete our people,” Diggs commented.

High Hog Farm, Grayson, Georgia

Keisha Cameron and her family raise animals in a silvopasture system in Grayson, Georgia’s High Hog Farm. The silvopasture system integrates forage, trees, and grazing on the same land. For example, animal manures can be used to fertilize the pasture, which can be cycled as grazing.

Silvopasture traps 42 tons of carbon per acre yearly and helps with animal digestion, causing them to emit less methane. Cameron and her family plan to build tree guilds next, where fruit trees are surrounded by fiber crops like indigo and cotton. It can minimize land space while increasing productivity. 

Fresh Future Farm, North Charleston, South Carolina

Germaine Jenkins taught herself gardening to feed her children in North Charleston, South Carolina. Her hard work and innovation let her create the farm at a community level. Her Fresh Future Farm now runs a full-service grocery store, serving people in the neighborhood. It creates a real “farm-to-table experience” through produce like bananas, oregano, and peanuts.

The farm also produces a large amount of compost on site. Jenkins’ methods are so successful that the soil no longer requires irrigation, which also helps with flooding. 

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