Creating Fertile Spaces for Communities of Color
The Good Ground Initiative, funded by a grant from the Z. Smith Foundation, is a TLC program that addresses racial disparities in land ownership by conserving critical agricultural land and then selling
it at more affordable prices to People of Color. Last year, TLC hired a consultant to complete a feasibility study that involved listening to community leaders and advocates of just and sustainable agriculture. After hiring a Good Ground Associate last Fall, we are excited to move the program forward this Spring with its pilot project, a 50-acre farm in Orange County, which comes with a 3-bedroom and 2-bathroom house. TLC will open applications to purchase the property at the conserved value in the next few months.
A critical element of Good Ground’s success will be the work of an Advisory Committee, made up of 9 individuals, mostly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, with expertise in produce and livestock farming, law, food sovereignty, and business capital. Together, they will review applications and conduct interviews with interested candidates. Thanks to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation funding, TLC is offering compensation for the time and experience they contribute to this project. Opportunities for applicants to visit the pilot property will begin this Spring.
In addition to the establishment of the Good Ground Initiative, TLC’s equity-focused work has extended to strengthening our relationships with communities of color with whom we have had relationships
for several years. To that end, we want to share the good work of Transplanting Traditions Community Farm and Urban Community AgriNomics in hopes that TLC members will support them too.
Recently, TTCF announced Hsar Ree Ree Wei as the organization’s new Executive Director. Since 2012, Ree Ree has served TTCF in various capacities from helping her parents, who are CSA farmers, to coordinating youth programs. Other inspiring changes happening on the farm include building a greenhouse extension for hardening off seedlings. TTCF is housed at TLC’s Irvin Farm Preserve. TLC members can support them with donations by buying their produce at the Carrboro Farmer’s market or by signing up on their popular CSA website at www.transplantingtraditions.org.
Transplanting Traditions Community Farm (TTCF) provides a cultural community space for adults and youth refugees to come together and create a place that reminds them of their home country. TTCF also helps build healthy communities through comradery while sustainably practicing agricultural traditions from their home country in the Piedmont and providing the community with fresh food.
Urban Community AgriNomics (UCAN) is a nonprofit that engages the Northern Durham community with skills based in agriculture and provides a place for the community to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. In the past couple of years, UCAN staff and volunteers have transformed an abandoned farmstead into a vibrant community garden with more than 40 raised beds, chickens, a well, and other infrastructure on land that TLC conserved more than a decade ago. UCAN has donated over 30,000 lbs. of fresh vegetables and fruits through local harvesting and gleaning events sponsored by the Society of St. Andrews. In February, the Durham Community Martin Luther King, Jr. Steering Committee presented UCAN with their Keeper of the Dream Award. TLC members can support UCAN by volunteering, renting a raised bed, or donating to their efforts at www.ucan.today.