6 Black Farmers and Environmentalists You Should Know About

April is the month when Earth Day and climate awareness takes place. This year, the theme for Earth Day is Restore Our Earth. To bring even more awareness to who is helping to restore our planet, this article will highlight 6 Black Farmers/ Environmentalists who are not only caring for our planet, but are also bringing awareness and combating racism in agriculture.

"The environmental justice movement grew out of the fight for civil rights and human rights"

1. Dr. Robert Bullard

Dr. Bullard is commonly known as the "father of the enviornmental justice movement". For the past 40 years, Dr. Bullard has fought for environmental and climate justice in Black communities and other communities of color. Dr. Bullard's groundbreaking 2000 book Dumping In Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality exposes the intentional dumping of hazardous waste in Black communities and explores the barriers faced by African American's in obtaining environmental and social justice. Dumping in Dixie is also a standard text in the environmental justice feild. In addition to the numerous articles and books Dr. Bullard has contributed to the field, he is also the co-founder of the HBCU Climate Consortium and is a U.S Marine Veteran. Most recently, Dr. Bullard added the UN's most prestigious Champion of the Earth Lifetime Award to the many other awards he has received.



2. Kari Fulton

Kari Fulton is an Environmental and Climate justice organizer, author and historian. Kari Fulton has attended and written about international environmental conferences in places such as South Africa, Latin America and Europe. Over the past ten years, Kari's work internationally and domestically has led to the successful execution of multiple campaigns and conferences including the United States largest youth climate summit, Power Shift and in the National People's Climate March in 2017. Currently, Kari works as the Frontline Policy Coordinator at Climate Justice Alliance a non-profit organization which unties frontline communities and organizations.


3. Dr. Dorceta Taylor

Dr. Taylor is a current professor of environmental justice at Yale University. Dr. Taylor has worked in the field of environmental justice for many years; prior to her professor job at Yale, Dr. Taylor was a professor of environmental sociology at Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability for 27 years. Dr. Taylor is an influential published academic who's most recent work in 2016 The Rise of American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege and Environmental Protection exposes the history of racism and oppression in the conservation movement. The work in this book has led well known conservation organizations such as Save the Redwoods League, National Park Service and the Sierra Club to publicly acknowledge the problematic ideologies and discourses of their founders.


4. John Boyd Jr.

John Boyd Jr is the president of the National Black Farmers Association, a civil rights activist and current farmer in Baskerville Virginia. John began his work fighting for equality for Black Farmers after experiencing first hand the discriminatory practices of the Department of Agriculture. John founded the National Black Farmers Association in 1995. As an organization, the NBFA represents provides services to tens of thousands of members throughout the country. The NBFA focuses its efforts on land retention, education, civil rights, access to private and public loans, agriculture training and support with rural economic development for Black and other small farmers.


"Its tough for all farmers, but when you throw in discrimination and racism and unfair lending practices, it's really hard for you to make it."

5. Karen Washington

Karen is a farmer, teacher, physical therapist, activist and board member of the New York Botanical Garden. A lifelong New Yorker and resident of the Bronx, Karen teaches youth about gardening and community organizing through Farm School. As the co-founder of Black Urban Growers, Karen is working with Black farmers to provide nutritious, fresh foods to under-resourced communities. In her work as a physical therapist, Karen stated in an interview with PBS that she saw first-hand the impact of nutrition on the body. She further notes that she began growing food in her neighborhood community as a way to combat the lack of fresh and nutritious food in her borough.


6. Karissa Lewis

Karissa is a farmer and activist from Oakland California. Karissa is the co-founder of Full Harvest Farm, a cooperative farm which grows fruits, vegetables and cannabis. As a community organizer, Karissa has organized around areas such as environmental justice, gentrification, gang injunctions and police brutality. Karissa believes that those who are most impacted should be leading movements for change. Karissa continues to work to build leadership in communities of color and is an active member of the Bay Area Black Lives Matter chapter.

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