Over the last two years, we have been evolving our Ag of the Middle (AOTM) Accelerator program, as a result of deepening our commitment to racial equity and by intentionally embedding new initiatives to center equity in the program.
Some of the ways we are transforming our programming include:
- Removing access barriers to join our business accelerator;
- expanding our services to Spanish speaking producers; and
- most recently, inviting past and current participants to learn how our country’s systemic racism is deeply connected to our food systems, and how this has created barriers to building intergenerational wealth in Black and Indigenous communities in particular, as well as in other communities of color.
We are also fostering opportunities for small and sustainable farmers, many of whom identify as white landowners, to discuss how they can leverage their power and privilege towards addressing and mitigating harm. These discussions also encourage the healing and empowerment of those who have been and are currently exploited, excluded, and experiencing discrimination.
In the following video, we talk with Ari de Leña of Kamayan Farm (Carnation, Wash.) about her work supporting the development of a food justice curriculum for the AOTM program. We also talk with Cameron Green of Willow Brook Farm (Carlton, Wash.) about her involvement in an Anti-Racism Learning group co-created by AOTM participants. In addition, Ecotrust AOTM staff speak with Pablo Silva and Maura Vásquez of Silva Family Farm (Oak Harbor, Wash.) about their experience participating in the AOTM program.
Video by Roland Dahwen
These are just a few steps taken towards Ecotrust’s vision for a just transition to an equitable regional food system. Much still needs to be done and, at Ecotrust, we will continue collaborating with partners and producers in our region who aspire to be agents for change in their communities and exploring opportunities to support Black, Indigenous, people of color, and Spanish-speaking business owners.
Top image: Pablo Silva and Maura Vásquez of Silva Family Farm. Circle image: Yolimar Rivera Vázquez, Ecotrust Food Equity Coordinator, speaks with Cameron Green of Willow Brook Farm. All images are by Roland Dahwen