February is Black History Month
Black History Month is approximately 11 months too short, but that's no reason to let February pass by without acknowledgement. The seeds we plant, the ground we plant them in, and the country that we live in have all been profoundly shaped by Black people. Because of historical and ongoing systemic racism, Black farmers have faced daunting barriers to gaining and maintaining access to farmland. This year, 1% of Fedco's February profits across all divisions will go to Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust. NEFOC's vision is to "advance land sovereignty in the northeast region through permanent and secure land tenure for Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Asian farmers and land stewards who will use the land in a sacred manner that honors our ancestors’ dreams - for regenerative farming, human habitat, ceremony, native ecosystem restoration, and cultural preservation."
What about the other 11 months of the year? Fedco has an ongoing commitment to support Black and Indigenous-led initiatives. As a cooperative, we have an Education Subsidy fund with which we are able to fulfill funding requests from organizations, projects and individuals working on education, co-operatives, food security and food sovereignty. This year we have budgeted to give to Eastern Woodlands Rematriation Collective, Gedakina, Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons, National Black Food & Justice Alliance, Npisun Harvest, Soul Fire Farm Institute, Seeds of Change Solidarity, and a BIPOC- and youth-led Boston-area mutual aid community garden project (in addition to other initiatives that are not explicitly Black or Indigenous-related). We have made use of our Faceboook platform to promote some of these organizations as well.
Benefit-sharing: Fedco began paying Indigenous Royalties in 2018 and has expanded that program to most of our divisions. This year, Fedco Seeds launched its Black Benefit Sharing program for some varieties that originate in Africa or are part of Black foodways. That money also goes to Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust.