This week’s series of horrific killings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas calls on the conscience of every American and demands our attention and action. African Americans being gunned down by police has a long history with deep roots in America. Farm Aid stands in solidarity with all who assert that Black Lives Matter and joins the call for justice and peaceful collective action to confront structural racism and inequality in America.
Farm Aid works to bring together black farmers and white farmers to address the many challenges facing family farm agriculture. What we know to be true is that the hard work of dialogue and action addressing race, discrimination, and injustice has made our collective work stronger.
Farm Aid’s mission for a thriving family farm agriculture is inextricably bound with the work of ending structural racism and inequality and advancing civil rights in America. We pledge our on-going commitment to this work.
The killing of Philando Castile has particular resonance in our community. Mr. Castile was a school food service professional who interacted with students every day, providing them with nutritious, farm fresh foods. His school district, Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS), has a farm to school program that brings produce, poultry and grain products from local small and mid-sized farmers to its 39,000 students, who collectively speak over 100 languages and dialects. SPPS is one of our nation’s shining examples of how farm fresh foods bring together people of all backgrounds.
Students, faculty and parents from J.J. Hill Montessori School – which was designated an “international peace site” in 1992 – recount that Mr. Castile was a warm and gentle professional who knew his students names, knew their allergies and would greet them with music as they filed into the cafeteria for their meals each day. What better ambassador could farmers have had – given the love and care that they dedicate to their crops and animals – than Mr. Castile?