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Pointing the Farm Bill Toward Racial Justice: A Summit

Pointing the Farm Bill Toward Racial Justice: A Summit & Briefing

From April 30 - May 2, 2023 the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (FSC/LAF)Berkeley Food Institute (BFI)American University’s Center for Environment, Community, and Equity (CECE) and Antiracist Research Policy Center (ARPC) are hosting Pointing the Farm Bill Toward Racial Justice, a Farm Bill Summit & Briefing. The summit will be a historic convening of farmers, advocates, policy-makers, scholars, students, and the general public who are invested in making the 2023 Farm Bill a policy vehicle for advancing equity across each of the twelve titles in the bill. The summit will offer a comprehensive look at how the Farm Bill impacts farmers, landowners, and cooperatives as well as a collective analysis of climate justice, food system resilience, fair prices, international agricultural trade solidarity, and more. The summit will culminate with a Congressional briefing and public roundtable with more details to come. The Summit will be livestreamed on Sunday April 30 and Monday May 1. 

Invitees will join us at Airlie Farm and Center in Warrenton, VA on Sunday April 30 and Monday May 1, 2023 and for a Congressional Briefing and public debriefing in Washington, D.C. on May 2, 2023.

For more information, please contact

Airlie Summit

April 30-May 1

The Summit will begin with a two-day retreat to the land at AU's Airlie Farm and Center - a historic site where Earth Day was created and Martin Luther King Jr. planned marches. Accepted participants include: Yvette Brown, Ben Burkett, Gail Christopher, Freddie Davis, Dãnia Davy, Abi Fain, Jasmine Jackson, Candi Schibli, Sommer Sibilly, Sakeenah Shabazz, Tambra Raye Stevenson, Willard Tillman, Mily Trevino-Sauceda, Bobby Wilson, Darnella B. Winston, and Ebony Woodruff.

Senate Briefing 

May 2 | 9:30 am

Immediately following the summit we will hold a briefing on Capitol Hill to share research findings, analysis, and farmers' experiences with the U.S. Senate and select members of the public. More details will be coming soon. 


Findings from the Summit will be included in a multi-media toolkit, a much-needed resource that will compile cutting edge analysis of the Farm Bill from a racial and climate justice perspective for advocates, scholars, and the media.  

Roundtable De-briefing + Reception

May 2 | 6:30 pm

The Summit will conclude with a roundtable de-briefing and reception at Eaton DC. This de-brief event will mark an opportunity to come together to reflect on the summit and share analysis. Speakers include Sara Clarke-Kaplan on an anti-racist agenda for the Food Bill; The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund on re-cap of Summit; and Tambra Stevenson, American University and WANDA, on a Food Bill of Rights. 


Participants and Speakers

Pointing the Farm Bill Toward Racial Justice: A Summit & Briefing is thrilled to feature a  historic line up of speakers to include (but not limited to) those listed below:

Co-Owner of Sejah Farms of the US Virgin Islands who currently serves as the Chairwoman of SAAFON’s Board. Her voice along with her husband serves as advocates for the status of agriculture and the continued development of the state of the territories and the need for change. She has received many awards and recognition for her work in her community. Sejah Farms of the US Virgin Islands, located on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was established in 1998 and is owned and operated by Mrs. Browne and her husband, Dale Browne. Their farm consisting of thirty-two acres of farmland, are used to graze sheep, goats, grow a variety of vegetables, a poultry and egg production, and a training outlet for local small farmers in their location. Sejah Farm has been committed to providing quality meats and sustainable vegetables in the U.S. Virgin Islands to meet the local market demand. Their farm is also home to educational workshops including seminars, training, and consultations for farmers and the broader community. They are the founders of Island Food Security Network; a small growers group developed to meet large scale wholesale demand from small farmers. Their Farm is home to the local annual event Bush Cook / Chef Cook know across the region as a show case of their local agricultural arena. They are also members of the Federation of Southern Cooperative based in Atlanta Georgia. She serves as Executive Director for Slow Food VI and has represented the Virgin Islands in Italy at the Slow Food International Conferences.

Ben F. Burkett is the state coordinator of the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, a state association of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/ Land Assistance Fund. He is currently involved in a 320 acres farming operation, which consists of vegetable production and timber. He has been active in farming since 1973. His farm operation is located in the fourth congressional district, Congressman Steve Palazzo. The farm operations is in Forrest county. The Federation, an umbrella organization now composed of 35 cooperatives representing 12,000 African-American farm families from Texas to North Carolina, assists farmers in land retention and the development of economically self-sufficient communities. Member cooperatives purchase supplies and receive marketing, financial and technical assistance through the federation. Ben is involved in several cooperatives, believing that that is the only way you can make it in the rural south. He is a founding member of the Indian Springs Farmers Association, in Petal, Mississippi. Ben is the cooperative’s former manager and treasurer. He also serves as president of the National Family Farm Coalition, an organization that pursues policies to: enact the Food from Family Farms Act; restore competition to the farm and food sector; negotiate fair trade agreements; promote food security and food safety; hold U.S. government agencies accountable; and minimize the risks of genetic engineering. He also represents the Coalition on the Via Campesina Food Sovereignty Commission and is a board member of the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC). Ben is community activist and an experienced vegetable and timber farmer. His extended knowledge of agriculture has taken him to Senegal, South Africa, Kenya, Nicaragua, Lebanon, and Zimbabwe. Ben exchanges knowledge and information with small-scale farmers. In turn, he had hosted West African honey, rice and vegetable producers who visited the United States to learn irrigation, marketing and packaging techniques from African-American farmers. Ben also serves as a resource to USDA and congressional elected officials to assist in developing agricultural programs. Currently, he serves on the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.

 As a leader of public health policy and racial healing, Dr. Gail Christopher has been designing holistic approaches for improving human capacity for demonstrating care and healing since 1974. She designed and led the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation initiative.

Dãnia Davy is Director of Land Retention and Advocacy at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. She leads service delivery at Regional Heirs Property & Mediation Center at the Federation, and is a board member of Farmers Legal Action Group and Southern Rural Development Center. As an activist for farmers of color, she has designed and implemented projects fighting against Black land loss.

Abi is the Director of Policy and Government Relations for the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC), where she supports IAC’s policy priorities, including improving opportunities for Tribal producers to meaningfully participate in USDA and Department of the Interior programming. Prior to joining IAC, Abi practiced law for seven years at a firm that specialized in the representation of tribal governments, tribal enterprises, and Native organizations. She received her bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University and her juris doctorate with a certification in Federal Indian Law from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Abi is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Dr. Jasmine Jackson is a specialist on food systems and policy, working with local representatives and communities to achieve a sustainable and just food system. She currently serves as Co-Executive Director of the National Black Food & Justice Alliance, a coalition advancing food sovereignty through Black leadership and farmers.

Candy Schibli is founder and head roaster of Southeastern Roastery Coffee Lab, a coffee company focused on supporting gender equity.

Sakeenah Shabazz is Policy Director at the Berkeley Food Institute. As a fellow at the Food Center, Sakeenah is an advocate for SNAP and its crucial role in feeding communities.

Sommer A. Sibilly-Brown is a local Foods System Development Strategist and Community Advocate who lives on the Island of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands of the United States. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition Inc. a place-based nonprofit organization dedicated to building a thriving and just food system that supports local farmers and producers, and ensures that good food is accessible to every resident in our territory. Her advocacy focuses on the issues of Food & Nutrition Security, Food Sovereignty, and Sustainable and Regenerative Agriculture. She seeks to raise awareness on the unique barriers that impact the development of healthy food systems when you are a geographically isolated and/or insular area, which includes environmental, economic , health, food and racial justice for Virgin Islanders.

Food justice and nutrition activist Tambra Raye Stevenson founded WANDA – Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture – an organization that is reclaiming the history and heritage foods of the African diaspora in Washington, DC. She is also a member of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory (NAREEE) Board, acting as an advisor to the USDA.

A founder of the women farmworker’s movement in the US, Mily Treviño-Sauceda has spent her life fighting for justice. She has founded several grassroots organizations for women farmworkers, including Líderes Campesinas, Mujeres Mexicanas, and Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, where she is currently Executive Director. 

Bobby L. Wilson, co-founder and owner of Metro Atlanta Urban Farm (MAUF), shares a mission and a vision that focuses on agricultural education, access to locally grown fresh food, youth socio-emotional development, increasing representation in the sciences of those who historically have been underrepresented, and providing a strong program for seniors which includes community and therapeutic gardening. Bobby is a member of the Urban Agriculture Innovative Production Federal Advisory Committee. He recently served as a first-time Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) on a national research project, the NOISE Project, in collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Celebrate Urban Birds, and the National Science Foundation (NSF).  He is co-author of the publication: Understanding the Impact of Equitable Collaborations between Science Institutions and Community-Based Organizations: Improving Science through Community-Led Research, and is a 2022 Featured CNN Hero.

Thank you to our Farm Bill Summit Hosts and Partners:

Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund was formed in 1967 by various community organizers and leaders in the Civil Rights Movement. The Federation promotes cooperative development through its training programs/workshops, fights against Black land loss through education and direct assistance, and advocates for agriculture policies that ensure equality for Black farmers.

Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural 

Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural is an alliance of farmers, farm workers, indigenous, migrant, and working people from the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Together, the group supports and advocates for progressive policy that is responsive to rural needs, protects the environment, and ensures equal access to programs for all farmers. In addition to policy work, Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural provides technical assistance to farmers, conducts participatory research, and implements community-based projects.

Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance

Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance is a collective of emergent and seasoned BIPOC growers, farmers, and gardeners who cultivate and distribute heirloom seeds as well as grow culturally meaningful crops for food, healing, and textiles. Ujamaa is the Fourth Principle of Kwanzaa, meaning “Cooperative Economics,” which guides UCFA’s goals of providing opportunities for BIPOC communities and using environmentally sustainable farming and gardening practices.

National Family Farm Coalition

Formed in 1986 to ensure that farmers’ voices were heard on the Capitol, the National Family Farm Coalition is a collective of 30 member organizations across 42 states. Their policy work and mobilization of family farmers advocates for food sovereignty, fair farmgate prices, agroecology, and the end of corporate domination of agriculture.

Disparity to Parity

Disparity to Parity is a group of farmers, activists, scholars, organizers, movement leaders, and policy analysts dedicated to agrarian justice, land retention, racial justice, and agroecology. D2P is dedicated to fighting for parity pricing and supply management practices for a racially just, economically empowered, and climate resilient food system.

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas

Founded in 2011, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas was born out of a group of organizations fighting for the rights of women farmworkers, particularly for workplace protections and domestic abuse support. Alianza does policy and advocacy work on ending gender-based violence, ensuring labor rights for women farmworkers, forging migrant and immigrant justice, and reducing pesticide exposure. 

African Food Sovereignty Alliance

African Food Sovereignty Alliance works to influence policies and to promote African solutions for food sovereignty. Representing various African farmers’ organizations, NGOs, and consumer movements, AFSA fights against the corporatization of African agriculture and advocates for the implementation of agroecology as the dominant farming and food system in Africa. 


As the country’s only urban HBCU land grant university, The University of the District of Columbia’s College for Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (UDC CAUSES) equips students with the knowledge to positively transform their communities. Using a three-pronged approach of teaching, research, and community outreach, UDC CAUSES offers associate, baccalaureate, graduate and professional degree programs, as well as community education and certificate programs to learners of all ages.

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