We Buy Black and SheaMoisture have teamed up to bring the culture the Black Business Relief Fund. After reviewing 3588 applications carefully, we have settled on 20 awardees, each who’ve been awarded a $5,000 grant. The sixth business is Family Agriculture Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.), an excellent business that is totally worthy of this honor.
African Americans are losing 30,000 acres of land every year. F.A.R.M.S., a Black owned nonprofit, exists to reverse that trend. F.A.R.M.S. is committed to reversing small farmland loss, protecting Black wealth and reducing hunger in rural, low-income communities. F.A.R.M.S. provides pro bono legal services to farmers of color in rural areas, purchases produce from small farmers and donates it to hunger relief partners and provides emergency financial assistance to farmers through their farmers emergency fund. F.A.R.M.S. has been in operation for nearly seven years and in that time, the organization has saved farms from foreclosure, paid for estate planning legal services to execute wills and trust throughout the Southeast, secured purchasing contracts for farm clients to increase their sales and purchased (and donated) over 600,000 pounds of fresh produce.
The banker doesn’t feed the nation, the farmer does. Farmers are indispensable and thus, the loss of Black farmland is particularly alarming. F.A.R.M.S. is engaged in critical work, carrying a mission that, if unsuccessful, will render Black people unable to sustain themselves in the future. Whether it means paying past utility bills, farm loan payments, groceries, medical bills or medical expenses, F.A.R.M.S. is stepping up. In fact, they have disbursed over 25 stipends just in the past 18 months, totaling over $15,000. Those stipends often represent a farmer’s ability to purchase seed or fertilizer: literally enabling farms to survive. In this moment of history, survival is absolutely the objective.
There is a shortage of supply for seed and fertilizer, due to increased costs in this moment of history. Cattle prices have decreased drastically, putting many cattle farmers in financial strain and the costs for shipping freight has doubled. Additionally, beef processors are closed, due to COVID-19. Produce farmers all over are allowing produce to rot in the field due to labor shortages and the border between the US and Mexico is closed: securing labor to harvest produce is a severe challenge, currently. This is a tough time for farmers, those who literally feed the nation. For Black farmers, however, holding on now is the difference between having a Black future of self sufficiency or permanent serfdom.
The $5,000 grant from We Buy Black and SheaMoisture can’t come at a better time, for F.A.R.M.S. This grant will allow them to purchase seed and fertilizer, to disburse to farmers. The grant will help them to provide emergency stipends to farmers of color, particularly in the Southeast. It will also help F.A.R.M.S. purchase produce to donate to their food bank partners. Thanks to We Buy Black and SheaMoisture, there is new hope.