At Bob's Red Mill, one of our most important values is giving back to the community. Now we're making it easy for you to join us with our ongoing "Top It Off" program, where you can round up your online purchase to the nearest dollar to donate to one of the fantastic organizations we support. We're proud to announce that our next "Top It Off" partner is Black Food Sovereignty Coalition!
Black Food Sovereignty Coalition (BFSC) is a community member-based organization committed to providing Black people with access to nutritious, culturally relevant food; increasing the self-reliance of Black people in meeting their communities’ food needs through stewardship of land resources; and opening doors to create wealth and develop marketing strategies that benefit both Black food producers and Black consumers.
Founded in 2018 and based in Portland, Oregon, BFSC works in collaboration with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) growers, policy makers, advocates and educators to support existing community initiatives and strengthen community food systems, transform cultural spaces and conserve resources. We had the pleasure of speaking with Malcolm Shabazz Hoover, co-director of Black Futures Farm, one of BFSC's key programs.
Asked about the organization's mission, Hoover explained, "The Black Food Sovereignty Coalition operates on three basic principles: food, place and wealth. The concept of food sovereignty is that all people should have a right to healthy food. And for the most part, low income communities, Black communities, Black and Brown communities, don’t produce their own food. Black farmers are down to about 2% in the United States, when we had been as high as 15%. When you’re something like 13-15% of the population, that’s a very inequitable distribution. I think Black farmers have lost about 80% of the farmland they owned. It’s now out of our hands."
Food justice or food sovereignty is at the center of BFSC's mission. Hoover said, "Food sovereignty is the concept that, not only do you have healthy food, but that you also control the pathways to that food. You grow the food, you distribute the food, you move the food around. That is a commercial pathway that is controlled by your community from beginning to end. And that’s what the Black Food Sovereignty Coalition is working on, creating those pathways. If you don’t have self determination, you’re not really free. If you don’t control your own community, if you don’t control access, the funds, if you don’t control your own land, then you’re not free. And we want to be as free as possible."
Currently, Hoover runs Black Futures Farm with his wife and co-director, Mirabai Collins. Founded by the couple in 2020, Black Futures Farm has grown from small backyard farms to 1.15 acres with 17 different fruit trees, vegetables, flowers, medicinal and cooking herbs. Collins and Hoover do most of the farming and administration with support from a dedicated corps of volunteers; of the resulting food, 40% is donated to communities in need, while the rest is sold through local farmers markets and distributed through their CSA.
Interested in donating? Participating in our "Top It Off" program is easy: at checkout, simply click the box next to "Donate to Black Food Sovereignty Coalition" and complete your purchase as usual. Or, donate directly at their website. It's an easy way to contribute to a great cause.