“For generations, socially disadvantaged farmers have struggled to fully succeed due to systemic discrimination and a cycle of debt,” according to the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. I am a African American farmer and I had a hard time getting funding to start my Agriculture business. In December 2019, the Farm Service Agency rejected our request for a $50,000 microloan to help with the funding of the Hydroponic farm equipment. As a result, we have to file an Appeals Case with the United States Department of Agriculture. ( Case No. 2020E000134, NAP vs Farm Servics Agency Appeals Case.) The outcome of case found that the Farm Service Agency erred when it relied on that reduced projected revenue to determine the feasibility of Appellant’s operating plan; thus, its determination that Appellant’s operating plan was not feasible was erroneous. The final result was that our request for funding was approved and we were able to get enough funding for two hydroponic farm containers.
Farming has enabled me to reconnect with an trade that my ancestors once dominated. My roots came from slaves on the ship, to share croppers in the south, to hydroponic farming in the city. My grandparents were born in the deep south, Mississippi. Due to the pressures of segregation, civil rights, and Jim Crow they became part of the Black migration from the south (Great migration). They found peace and opportunity in Sanfrancisco, California, where they had my father and eventually had me. Today Black Farmers represent less than 2% of the population. Reduction of land, access to funding, limited generational inheritance. According to the article by the guardian, "The number of black farmers in America peaked in 1920, when there were 949,889. Today, of the country’s 3.4 million total farmers, only 1.3%, or 45,508, are black, according to new figures from the US Department of Agriculture released this month. They own a mere 0.52% of America’s farmland. By comparison, 95% of US farmers are white." (Disapperance of black farmers). I am creating a legacy to reverse this trend and get more African American young people interested in Farming.
Hydroponic farming is the art of growing produce without soil. The nutrients that the plants need are all contained in the water that is fed to the plants. The Freight Farms Greenery has enabled us to partake into a new type of farming that is done in a controlled atmosphere with the environment has controlled temperatures, lighting, and nutrients. Learning about New Age farming technology in Agriculture will show young people an alternative to traditional farming. A controlled environment is more comfortable to work in when you are not affected by the elements of nature. We plan to set up a Farm to school program where young people can come to the farm and learn about the different stages of the plant life cycle and the benefits of hydroponic farming versus traditional farming.
We encourage you to donate and make a difference by supporting small businesses and supporting Black businesses. Every dollar donated will go to pay back the USDA Loan 1 and USDA Loan 2 from the United States Department of Agriculture.