Anti-Racism in Farming
Agriculture has historically been, and continues to be, rife with systemic racism and inequality. We cannot talk about building resilient ecological farms and communities without paying attention to the systemic racism and oppression that are embedded within Ontario’s agricultural sector, society and the culture within which EFAO operates.
EFAO Board and Staff are committed to increasing their understanding around anti-racism towards Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC), and to better meeting the needs of farmers and members who are currently underrepresented in the organization and the ecological farming movement at large. This is new work for EFAO. We apologize that we are late to begin this work. We recognize that we have a lot to learn and that this must be a long-term and ongoing effort.
EFAO’s progress in meeting its anti-racism and equity goals will be updated regularly on this webpage, as a mechanism to stay action-oriented and foster accountability.
2021 Plans and Progress to Date
Hire a BIPOC consultant to help with this work.
- Nov 2020: We are very excited to be working with Angel Beyde, EFAO Anti-Racism and Equity Consultant who is supporting EFAO in this work.
Develop an Anti-racism and Equity Action Plan, Statement and Policy, with associated timelines and evaluation plans.
- Dec 2020: This list of actions was drafted through conversations with staff and board members, in consultation with EFAO’s Anti-racism and Equity Consultant, and presented at the December AGM and BIPOC Meet-up and Consultation for feedback.
- Feb 2021: This list of actions was updated to incorporate feedback from the BIPOC Farmer Survey, and posted on EFAO’s website with updates on progress to date.
Build relationships with and receive feedback from BIPOC members and farmers, and BIPOC-led organizations.
- Dec 2020: EFAO held a BIPOC Meet-up & Consultation as part of EFAO’s annual conference. Approximately 40 individuals participated, and many also completed a survey. We will soon summarize and share the incredibly valuable and thoughtful feedback that was provided.
Increase the number of BIPOC speakers at the conference, events and contributors in the print publication.
Ensure that there are Black, Indigenous and people of colour on the EFAO board, and nurture a board culture that is open and welcoming. Develop a more inclusive and open board recruitment process.
Form a BIPOC Farmer Network, support regular meet-ups in 2021, and develop a map to foster connections between farmers.
- Feb 2021: We have organized a second BIPOC meet-up on March 1st where we will identify and collect topics of interest for the coming year and discuss the role of a new EFAO BIPOC Farmer Advisory Committee.
Commit to ongoing staff and board training in anti-racism.
Offer and encourage anti-racism training for members.
Survey and better understand member demographics to help inform EFAO’s work and assess progress.
Develop a BIPOC Farmer Advisory Committee and an Anti-Racism and Equity Committee, to help guide this work.
Develop a racially just hiring policy.
Identify BIPOC-led organizations and initiatives that EFAO can support, ally and engage with.
Are you a racialized farmer?
- Join EFAO’s new BIPOC Farmer Network to connect with other racialized farmers and receive updates on meet-ups and events.
- Register for a FREE one-year trial membership. See EFAO’s membership page to learn what is included in membership. Trial memberships include a digital subscription to Ecological Farming in Ontario. Please contact Martina with questions or to register.
- Respond to the BIPOC Farmer Survey & Consultation so that EFAO may better understand your needs, and be of better service to you. This survey will lead to action items and regular updates on this page.
Want to learn more?
Below are some resources that EFAO members, board and staff have found helpful and inspiring. Please get in touch if you have resources that you would like to recommend.
At EFAO’s 2020 Virtual Conference, several racialized farmers and farming leaders discussed how racism and systemic racism affects Black, Indigenous and other farmers of colour. In this inspiring conversation, we heard about steps we can take together for racial justice within the ecological farming movement.
- Bringing Treaties to Life
- Dismantling Anti-Black Racism
- Becoming an Ally to Indigenous People
- Indigenous Gardens and Organizations