New Reports Outline Steps Needed to Build an Inclusive Food System

In U.S. agriculture, there is a long history of discrimination against minority populations and women. For many years, these groups were purposefully excluded from Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs in their own communities. A series of class action lawsuits, most notably Pigford v. Glickman, brought these practices to an end. To the federal government’s credit, huge strides have been made to correct this injustice. USDA has specific set-asides in some of its loan programs for these historically discriminated against populations. It also targets these groups directly through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers program, commonly referred to as the 2501 Program. This program, which is currently accepting applications, provides funding to organizations that provide support and technical assistance to these groups. While progress has been made, two new reports from the Center for Social Inclusion demonstrate that there is still much work to be done. These reports - Building the Case for Racial Equity in the Food System and Shining a Light in Dark Places: A Policy Brief examine not just agriculture, but the food system as a whole. They look at the structural causes of inequity in the food system and recommend policy changes to overcome them. Check[...]Read More