Racial Equity Toolkit

National Young Farmers Coalition | 2020

This toolkit was developed by the Caitlin Arnold and the National Young Farmers Coalition as part of a Northeast SARE Partnership Project to train farmers interested in confronting and dismantling racism and inequity in Northeast farm and food systems. The project and this toolkit were initiated in response to requests from majority white Coalition chapters for resources and guidance on how to initiate conversations and organizing efforts around racial equity in their chapters and broader communities.

The toolkit’s authors suggest that parts of this publication will be mostly relevant for white farmers and organizers. Many of the concepts and analyses of racial dynamics in the readings are important for people from all backgrounds to understand in order to work towards justice and healing, but some resources may be less useful for people of color who have more immediate lived experience of racial oppression, and those whose lives and communities may be more integrally braided with movement work.

The authors write, “In working through the Toolkit, there may be occasions where you and those you’re working with feel profoundly uncomfortable, uncertain, angry, and upset. Please take the time to feel that discomfort, rage, and sadness. Looking honestly at histories of violence and oppression includes observing the ways racism limits and injures people without power, and (in different, often more subtle ways) also harms people with various forms of power and privilege. Reckoning with harms committed, and repaying the debts of those violences, is necessary work in building a more just society that honors the dignity of the planet, and its human and non-human inhabitants. Part of this work is building stamina and refocusing on the nourishment and joy implicit in embracing a goal of collective liberation.”

The goal of the publication is to provide tools to help farmers organize around transformative learning and action. There are three sections.

Part 1: Introduction to the Young Farmers Racial Equity Toolkit

The first section provides basic background information about the Toolkit, including foundational understandings about racism, how it operates in our food system, and why dismantling racism is central to the pursuit of a just agricultural system, and collective liberation more broadly.

Part 2: Consciousness-Raising Tools and Anti-Racist Organizing

This section Toolkit provides guidance, structure, and practical tools for convening conversations about race, racism, equity, and justice with local communities. The authors hope is that these conversations will spark deep engagement and greater personal and collective understandings around the ways in which food, land, and climate justice are contingent on efforts to understand, identify, confront, and dismantle racism.

Part 3: Direct Action

The toolkit’s third section offers guidance around organizing toward direct action based on principles of resource-sharing, reparations, and movement building. Direct action can take different forms but this section is an effort to outline how accountability and action must coincide with self-education and individual transformation.

Want more information? See the related SARE grant:

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.