Land Circle

         An Earthcare Coalition of organizations drawn from African Diaspora nations asked, “What would it take to mount a concerted move toward relocalization  of food production and sovereignty among marginalized people of African descent as climate disruptions become the norm?
         The intent of allied organizations working under the aegis of the UN International Decade for People of African Descent is to propel food sovereignty and water access onto
the front burner of awareness among the 200,000,000 people in the African Diaspora over the course of the next eight years. Black land retention, acquisition, and it use for food production in the American southeast and Diaspora countries is a top priority of the Earthcare Coalition Land Circle.
          To that end the Land Circle engages partners in key regions throughout the Diaspora in a Black-owned land asset mapping process. The land inventory and usage information will provide the foundation cornerstone of the Coalition’s work on food production and sovereignty. The data will frame the Coalition panel’s 2017 presentations at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
AGRICULTURAL LAND ASSET MAPPING
  1. How many people of African descent are living in a given area/region (e.g. the black belt* in the Southeast  USA, 100 mile radius of Mombasa, Kenya, The Caribbean Islands, Dakar, Senegal, Rio de Janerio Brazil, Accra, Ghana, Capetown, South Africa)?
  2. What tonnage of food would be needed to provide that number of people with one nutritious vegetarian meal per day?
  3. What tonnage of food is currently grown in this region
    • by Black owner-growers?
    • Generally?
  4. In that region what acreage of Black owned land
    • Exists?
    • Is being used for agricultural purposes?
    • Is threatened, near or in foreclosure?
  5. How much acreage of land is currently farmed by Black farmers who do not own that land?
  6. How much food produced in that region is distributed locally, and what do current distribution systems look like?
  7. What measures would need to be put in place (or behaviors encouraged) to begin relocalizing agricultural product distribution?
  8. What is the average age of Black farmers in the region?
  9. How much farm fresh food does the Black population in this region purchase? Have access to?
  10. What land retention, land acquisition, economic organizing and financial models
    • Exist?
    • Are working well?
    • Can be formulated?
  11. What number of young people of African descent in college are pursuing careers that cultivate agricultural production skills?
    • HBCUs
    • Other
  12. What measures would need to be put in place (or behaviors encouraged) to augment Black agricultural production and local distribution?

CHALLENGES:

  1. To land retention (capital, heirs property issues)
  2. To sufficient land acquisition (capital, land availability)
  3. Land grabs and use:
    • by developers
    • for industrial agriculture mono-cropping, industrial beef and dairy cattle production
  4. Aging farmers and a dearth of young people entering agriculture or returning generation farmers,
  5. Psychological factors:
    • Residual slavery trauma relating to agricultural production,
    • American dream consumerism which stigmatizes labor on the land,
    • Separation and fragmentation consciousness.
_____________________
*The black belt region’s boundaries have varying definitions, but it is generally considered a band through the center of the Deep South, although stretching from as far north as Delaware to as far west as East Texas
Black belt as per Booker T. Washington in, Up from Slavery: “The term was first used to designate a part of the country which was distinguished by the color of the soil. The part of the country possessing this thick, dark, and naturally rich soil was, of course, the part of the South where the slaves were most profitable, and consequently they were taken there in the largest numbers. Later and especially since the war, the term seems to be used wholly in a political sense—that is, to designate the counties where the black people outnumber the white.”

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