Every Saturday morning, Wilscot Jr. wakes up at 4 a.m. and travels from Fresno to Auckland to sell fruits and vegetables at the Freedom Farmers Market in Temescar. He is the only farmer among black small business owners in the market.

Scott, 81, is one of a declining group. Only 429 black farmers in California. He said he would travel 175 miles each week to score points. As the president of an African-American farmer in California, Scott wants to make his community more “visible and audible.”

“We are a few, but we are here,” he said.

Will Scott Jr., 81, began farming full time after retiring from the Pacific Bell Telephone Company (Irene Benedict).

Of California’s roughly 70,000 farms, more than 90% are owned or controlled by whites, and less than 1% are owned or controlled by blacks, according to the latest agricultural census conducted in 2017. According to the 2020 census, about 13% of the population is black, but in the agricultural census four years ago, only 1.3% were agricultural producers.

The long-awaited change can happen. In March, Congress approved $ 4 billion in debt relief for farmers and ranchers “exposed to racial or ethnic prejudice” as part of the $ 1.9 billion COVID-19 stimulus package. However, the program was canceled after white farmers sued in more than half a dozen states and claimed the program discriminated against them.

“I can prove that white farmers don’t know what discrimination is in this country,” said John W. Boyd, president of the NAACP. “They were still on debt relief, so we’re filing a case and going to Congress.”

The association is Pigfordv, a groundbreaking 1999 lawsuit filed as a class action lawsuit by a black farm alleging racism in farm lending practices. Played a major role in Glickman.

On the settlement, more than 13,000 farmers received nearly $ 1 billion, while nearly 10,000 others were bailed out. In 2010, Congress approved $ 1.15 billion to cover much of what was left out of the original proceedings.

According to Boyd, there is a lot the government needs to do to supplement the treatment of black farmers, Boyd said. “We are on the brink of extinction.”

This was not always the case. The 1920 agricultural census listed 925,708 black peasants. Its historic heyday followed the liberation and ended with the spread of the Jim Crow Method. The big move saw many people swap the countryside for city life, leaving behind the traps of the past.

“Children in the black community don’t like farming because heritage is associated with slavery,” Scott said.

Scott’s grandfather, Amos Scott, was among those who saw their farming dreams frustrated. A farmer in Idabel, Oklahoma, he has never owned difficult land. As a result, his son Will Scott Sr. left the farm to live a better life in California.

There, Scott Sr. worked as a laundromat in Fresno. And his son, who was 11 when he moved, was the first in his family to go to college. Military service interrupted his plan. Enlisted in 1961, Scott Jr. was able to trade the Army for the Navy, which allowed him to continue his education at the Navy Submarine School in Connecticut for several years before being sent to Vietnam.

He returned to Japan in 1966 to complete his studies and pursue a career with Pacific Bell Telephone. As a hobby, I bought 5 acres in Fresno in 1973. However, after retiring at the age of 53 in 1994, he started farming full time. Currently, he owns 45 acres and manages a team of 10 to 15 seasonal contractors.

After starting the farm, Scott started selling his produce in Auckland. Stalls are set up at the corners of Mandela Parkway and Seventh Street. The more he traveled the Central Valley and the Bay Area, the more he became aware of social inequalities.

Scott teamed up with other black farmers and Farms to Grow, an Auckland-based nonprofit. Together, they founded the Freedom Farmers Market, delivering traditional black food to urban areas, especially low-income families.

Founded in 2013, the market was initially located in the Brothers Kitchen parking lot. A year later, I moved to my current location, 5316 Telegraph Ave.

Scott specializes in southern crops such as cabbage and okra, which are a tribute to his ancestors. Every Saturday at the end of the market, he donates surplus produce to the Telegraph Community Ministry Center, where he distributes them to low-income families and prepares them as hot meals for those who are not living.

When Scott meets at the Freedom Farmers Market, he thinks about what to expect. His four children are pursuing their own careers as he encouraged them to do. Her granddaughter, an Indigo teacher, is the only person interested in farming. He encourages her and believes in her

“We are responsible for participating in the food production sector. ”

As black farmers dwindle, the Temescal market producer wants the public to know ‘we are here’. Source link As black farmers dwindle, the Temescal market producer wants the public to know ‘we are here’.