PROVOST FARMS: CULTIVATING EQUITY

CULTIVATING EQUITY: A REAL LIFE "QUEEN SUGAR" STORY OF A LOUSIANA AFRICAN AMERICAN SUGARCANE FARM FAMILY

After reaching the initial goal of $50,000.00, Provost Farm is thankful to begin planning and developing our small farm, but the Good Fight continues! Help us reach our second goal of crossing the $80,000.00 mark! 

 The farm was  recently selected to participate in the Impact Accelerator Program by the Propeller organization of New Orleans, plus June and Angela Provost were featured in the New York Times, The 1619 Project:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/sugar-slave-trade-slavery.html

Here’s a bit of background info:


Black sugarcane farmers were once large economic forces in south Louisiana--they are land owners, entrepreneurs, and hard workers.

Similar to what is portrayed on OWN's "Queen Sugar" television series, African American cane farmers have become nearly extinct.

The Provost family — some of the very last black sugarcane farmers in the United States — has experienced many of these same problems as illustrated on TV. They have raised sugarcane for over four generations, yet their once-vast farm has fallen victim to discriminatory loan servicing by unscrupulous lenders and unfair treatment by sugar mill executives.

"You couldn't ignore the long, dark, tortured history of Southern race relations, or pretend everything would be fixed overnight...But you could be brave." -- Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile 

Facing a multitude of obstacles such as property loss, retaliation and harassment, black farmers are being systematically driven from their farms and homesteads. Statistically, African Americans own less than 1% of US land which can be corelated to food apartheid, robbing of voters rights, and a failing criminal justice system.

Shortly after the foreclosure of their personal residence, Wenceslaus (June) and Angela Provost moved in with his elderly mother. On December 12, 2018, just before the Christmas holidays, the Mr. Provost's mom was served a NOTICE OF SEIZURE AND SALE by the Iberia Parish Sherriff’s department, this time for June's childhood home.  Although the sale has been temporarily canceled, if seized, the family will effectively be homeless. The Provosts are currently fighting multiple lawsuits in order to dismantle the discriminatory and fraudulent patterns and practices committed against black sugarcane farmers, and need immediate assistance to save their ancestral  home tied to an original farm debt guaranteed by the USDA and suspiciously converted by the lender to private commercial loan.

Please follow their journey:

https://www.provostfarmllc.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-VWIZIL4ag&t=46s 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/30/america-black-farmers-louisiana-sugarcane

https://www.facebook.com/cultivateequity

https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/25712246/Provost_v_First_Guaranty


THE PROVOST STORY

In 2007, Wenceslaus Provost Jr., the youngest of three brothers, began the purchase of his father’s 4300 acre farm, shortly before his father passed away. Like the novel Queen Sugar's Charley, his wife, Angela, was an urban art teacher to pre-k children, but began her own sugarcane farm after marrying into the Provost family. Their farms consisted of over 4300 sharecropped land, including almost 200 acres owned by the Provosts. Their connection to the land is 

By 2014, Wenceslaus’s farm dwindled down to 1200 acres, including 18 acres he presently owns, which is currently under threat of foreclosure. Today, combined the farms have dwindled to less than 50 acres, with no resources to operate or cultivate the land.

While bankers and USDA loan officers have asserted this loss has been due to “poor farming practices,” this is simply an excuse used to disguise the systemic practices of mistreatment and fraud for the purpose of forcing African American sugarcane farmers from their land.

The Provosts have discovered numerous fraudulent acts committed by institutions, which resulted in loss of farmland, including misappropriated funds, forgery to loan documents, and a stark disparity in resources and terms provided to black growers as compared to resources provided to white growers.

In uncovering these fraudulent acts, Wenceslaus and Angela have experienced a barrage of incidents of retaliation, including verbal and physical harassment, slander, the placement of dead animals in tractors, and vandalized machinery.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Please Donate!

The Provosts are working to resolve these issues through litigation and activism, but need your help! The family believes these institutions should not be allowed to break laws, waste tax payer funds, and harm the livelihood of those who work to uphold an agricultural and ancestral legacy.  

USE OF FUNDS

- Securing Homestead 
- Farm Supplies and Machinery
- Mechanization and Conservation Farm
- Utility and Living Expenses
- Legal and Business Expenses

SINCERE GRATITUTDE TO ALL CONTRIBUTERS!!

Also, support the organizations that have generously offered  the Provost family encouragement and resources:

-Rural Coalition  -  https://www.ruralco.org/

-Farms 30000 - https://www.30000acres.org/

-National Family Farm Coalition - nffc.net/

-National Black Growers Council - https://nationalblackgrowerscouncil.com/

-Female Farmer Project  - http://www.femalefarmerproject.org/

-Farm Aid -  https://www.farmaid.org

-Federation of Southern Cooperatives - http://www.federationsoutherncoop.com/


“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” --James Baldwin




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  • Anonymous 
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Organizer 

Angela Provost 
Organizer
New Iberia, LA
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