Written by: Tracy Akinfenwa
This week author Natalie Baszile released a history-based book named, We Are Each Other’s Harvest: Celebrating African American Farmers Land and Legacy.
Previous works of Baszile include Queen Sugar which helped build her reputation as an author. This time, Baszile focuses on the historic elements of Black farming in the USA, and why it is not very common.
According to Baszile, a key part of this reason is down to the USDA’s loans back in 1984. Of the $1.3 billion lent to roughly 16,000 farmers, only 209 of these loans went to people of color. This means that Black farmers suffered a harsh economic disadvantage that was systematically against them from the start. However, there is good news, as Baszile also focuses on more recent grants, which awarded Black farmers around $4 billion in loans.
Perhaps change is on the horizon for the Black farming community?
This book isn’t just history-based either. Although looking to the past provides context, Baszile also uses her writing to understand and celebrate exactly what it means to be a Black farmer in the USA. Here, she interviews various farmers, who talk openly about their pride and work ethic to make a success of their farms. Further, there is often a tangible link between these farming groups and their local communities. In a world that is now so globalized, it seems that local farming helps bring people closer together and link neighboring communities. Perhaps this is where the book title stems from.
We Are Each Other’s Harvest is out now and can be picked up at most major bookstores, both offline and online. If you want to learn more about the socio-economic origins of Black farming in North America, then this is a fascinating read and will undoubtedly improve your knowledge on the subject.
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