One-third of Connecticut’s residents identify as people of color, but statistically, more than 98 percent of Connecticut’s farmers are white.
It’s a disparity rooted in generations of racism, unequal access to land and credit, and systemic discrimination.
But while their numbers are small, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) farmers do exist in Connecticut.
All summer long, we are bringing you their stories through audio interviews and photographs, which will be posted here.
Listen to these farmers in their own words.
Liz Guerra, 37 & Héctor Gerardo, 38
“We are not a traditional ‘ag’ family … We came here with a dream and a compost box.”
The co-owners of Seamarron Farmstead in Danbury want you to know that “Black farmers do exist and BIPOC farmers – in Connecticut.” They describe a farming journey that started on a New York City fire escape and led to today, where they grow everything from garlic to hemp in the backyard of their Connecticut homestead.
Xóchitl Garcia, 26
“Growing up, my family made agriculture a taboo subject because it was a method of survival.”
A woman explores how farming intersects with her Mexican identity while working at a community garden in New Haven.
Sarah Rose Kareem, 29 & Azeem Zakir Kareem, 29
She was like, ‘Why is no one coming? This is so strange. Why is no one here?’ I'm like, 'cuz you got a Black dude, here.’ This isn't a place where you just find Black people walking around.”
Speaking on a windy day outside their Windsor Locks farm, the married co-founders of Samad Gardens Initiative celebrate the freedom they’ve found farming, but say customers at farmers markets treat them differently depending on who’s behind the stand.
Patrick Skahill is a reporter at WNPR. He covers science and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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