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White people own 98% of rural land. Young Black farmers want to reclaim their share

Posted On: 30 Jun 2020   |   Posted By: Grist

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Black people have largely been expelled from the U.S. agricultural landscape. In 1920, nearly a million Black farmers worked on 41.4 million acres of land, making up a seventh of farm owners. Today, only about 49,000 of them remain, making up just 1.4 percent of the nation's farm owners, and tending a scant 4.7 million acres - a nearly 90 percent loss.
This didn't happen by accident. Since Emancipation, Black farmers have had to fight for a share of this country's fertile ground, due to a history of racist policies and land theft. But modern sustainable agriculture owes much to Black agriculturalists, explained Leah Penniman, codirector of Soul Fire Farm in upstate New York and author of Farming While Black , on a recent episode of the Mother Jones podcast Bite .
Starting in the 17th century, European slave traders who forcibly moved Africans to this continent stole not just their lives and...

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