In 1920, there were nearly 1,000,000 Black farmers in the United States.
Care to guess what that number is today?
That number represents just 1.3% of the nearly 3.4 million farmers in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2017 census. And Black-owned farms constitute just 0.4% of total U.S. farmland.
Clearly, there are some big equality issues in the farming industry that need to be addressed and fixed.
Here at Charlotte’s Web, we want to do our part.
The initiative is called Seeding Our Future, Together.
The goal is to begin to reverse the woeful underrepresentation of Black people throughout all levels of the hemp and agricultural industries—from farms to manufacturers and all the way up to leadership teams and executive boards.
Here’s what some of staff here at Charlotte’s Web have to say about the new initiative:
“This collaboration is important for our entire hemp industry so it may achieve a wider potential for innovation through diversity. Our Charlotte’s Web Cultivation Team is excited to share our knowledge of organic hemp farming, and we know we will also gain knowledge from our work with the 40-acre Cooperative and its farming members.”- Jared Stanley, Chief Cultivation Officer and Co-Founder of Charlotte’s Web
“Greater diversity in our company and in the hemp industry may not happen swiftly, but working together with the 40-acre Co-op on our new ‘Seeding Our Future, Together’ mentor program is a way to move forward by sharing our knowledge, our science, and our cultivation expertise with Black farmers and other agricultural leaders in the Black community.”- Deanie Elsner, President and CEO of Charlotte’s Web
A Little Background On 40 Acre Co-Op
40 Acre Co-Op is the first nationwide cooperative to support socially disadvantaged farmers. It’s a fast-growing organization based in Minnesota that comprises over 50 farmers in 7 states, and two Native American Indian reservations.
We’re thrilled to have them as a new partner!
The folks at 40 Acre Co-Op are dedicated to promoting equity and opportunities for Black and other socially disadvantaged farmers by providing training, supplies, and leadership to give them the tools and resources they’ll need to be successful in the agricultural industry.
Their organization serves many legacy farmers who grow a variety of crops and who are interested in hemp as a way to become more sustainable and adopt more organic farming practices.
Many of these farms have been family-owned for generations and see hemp as a profitable and environmentally responsible crop that will help sustain their family legacy.
What Are the Goals of This New Initiative and What Will Charlotte’s Web Be Providing?
Here at Charlotte’s Web, we believe in the importance of equity and equality in the hemp industry—both for the benefit of all people, and for better collaboration and innovation in the industry.
And we believe we can promote that through a thoughtfully designed mentorship program that will support more Black farmers in the hemp industry.
With that in mind, our “Seeding Our Future” partnership has three main goals:
- To bring changes to our hemp industry, which is currently underrepresented by people of color as farmers, scientists, and business professionals.
- To align our actions with our values of supporting small-scale farmers and underserved communities.
- To provide quality education and access to expertise to those individuals who may lack the resources and contacts to get started.
Here’s what Charlotte’s Web will be providing through this program:
- We’ll provide access to experts at all levels of the hemp industry—from organic certification to marketing, government relations, financial planning, and more.
- We’ll schedule and provide online educational sessions featuring subject matter experts.
- We’ll provide additional one-on-one mentorship opportunities when possible.
- We’ll use our public relations abilities to help improve visibility for 40 Acre Co-Op.
- We’ll serve as guest speakers with 40 Acre Co-Op in one hemp industry or natural/organic product industry event in 2021.
- We’ll provide our Lindorea seed to some members of 40 Acre Co-Op for the 2021 growing season.
We know there’s a long way to go before we’re anywhere close to achieving full racial equality in the agricultural industry, but we’re hopeful that this program will help jumpstart that effort and encourage more people to take an active role in empowering Black farmers.
We’ll leave you with some inspiring words from the visionary Angela Dawson, Founder and President of 40 Acre Co-Op, on her mission to support socially disadvantaged farmers:
“It’s just striking to me how the story hasn’t changed for Black farmers. We need to work on imagining a new future for Black farmers that includes strength and agency and women and more people from socially disadvantaged communities really coming together and bringing together their rich cultural practices.” – Angela Dawson, Founder and President of 40 Acre Co-Op