Farmers in metro work to keep farming culture alive in minority communities

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 5:57 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Farmers here in the metro and across the country are doing their part to keep farming culture alive in minority communities

A group of women run a large four-acre farm just outside of Washington D.C., where crops are coming and, more importantly for the group, an abundance of seeds.

“What happened was people stopped saving seeds, and every year the price of the seeds go up,” said Bonnetta Adeeb, founder and director of Steam Onward. “And every year it’s harder and harder to get the seeds you want.”

Adeeb runs a cooperative farming alliance, bringing together black and indigenous farmers in and around Maryland and the initiative has gained national recognition.

“The things that were important to our ancestors, that’s what we’re into,” Adeeb said. “And we love it. We love watermelon. We love okra, we love sorghum. You know, all those things that are important to our ancestors. That’s what we love, and that’s what we grow.”

Across the nation, less than 1% of farms are black-owned, which limits minorities’ access to the $15 billion seed-growing industry.

Here in st. Louis, Nick Speed is planting seeds in hopes of helping regrow and restore a sense of community and honor in North City.

“It’s not only important that we create fresh, nutritious foods that is accessible to the folks living in these communities, but also create education, teaching folks where their food comes from, teaching folks about the importance about knowing how to grow your own food,” Speed said.

Since 2018 George Washington Carver Farms has grown over 5,000 pounds of food and created 200 meals for the community.

Hundreds of miles apart, both Speed and Adeeb recognized the need to promote minority representation in the agriculture space.

The work is building a network of farmers.

“And there are thousands and thousands of us out there, and the only way we can beat any type of obstacle is to work together and work through it.”