Black Farmer Fund Raises $11 Million For Black Agricultural Businesses

The Black Farmer Fund has raised  $11 million in funds for Black agricultural and food businesses. The group provides grants and operational support to these businesses in the northeastern United States.

“We are humbled by the support from investors aligned with our commitment to racial and economic justice,” the fund’s co-founder, Olivia Watkins, said in a press release. “With $11 million secured, we are well on our way to achieving our $20 million goal. This significant milestone reaffirms our belief that when we empower Black communities, we foster a stronger, more inclusive food system that benefits us all.

“Our “for-us-by-us” approach goes against traditional lending practices by providing patient, non-extractive capital and putting the decisions around who receives funding in the hands of experienced Black farmers and food systems entrepreneurs across the Northeast.”

Watkins and Karen Washington, co-founders and now co-executive directors of the fund, received the 2023 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award because of their work. They also became the first Black winners of the award in June 2023.

The Black Farmer Fund started in 2017, focuses on putting control of wealth creation back into the hands of the community and not in financial institutions like banks, where Black people and Black businesses have been traditionally underinvested or redlined. The Black Farmer Fund is also a member of the National Black Food & Justice Alliance, which advocates for Black farmers in the United States.

The group is also a supporter of the Justice for Black Farmers Act, a piece of legislation introduced in 2020 that promises to end discrimination in the United States Department of Agriculture, protect remaining Black farmers from losing their land, provide land grants to create new Black farmers and implement reforms to assist family farmers across the United States.

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