Mycelium Strands: When Black Farmers Come Together

By Gen Rollins

Organizing is a slow and winding process, that takes a lot of careful weaving to do well. Throughout the country, black farmers and urban growers have created networks of movement, growth, and sustaining futures. This November, we will celebrate those connections by gathering in Atlanta, Georgia at Georgia State University.

The Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference is an annual get together of lock swiveling, fro-growing, fade-flashing idea shakers. It is a community event not too far off from a family reunion. At the 2016 BUGs Conference, a range of interested minds came together to share perspectives and opportunities. In one of the larger group workshops, Kirtrina Baxter directed an auditorium of people to break into groups and get workshopping on how to get good food into their areas. A young high schooler stood up and said, “We have to fight redlining in our communities,” with the full wisdom and confidence of a thousand years of knowledge.

Thoughts were buzzing in the hive mind, as we explored queer food traditions in our family lineages. One storyteller shared the reemergence of Vietnamese fishing practices returning to them through their father. Another individual spoke of their Jamaican family re-engaging in farming practices through herbalism. Through this generational return, the powerful speaker was able to nurture their practice of doula midwifery, helping birth black and brown babies into the world with culturally connected practices.

Blackanomics was a definite presence at last year’s conference. Michael Easterling shared a storyline of Black farmers in America, exposing the detriments to landownership faced by modern day farmers. No one stopped at hardships, though. This conference has a power so rejuvenating in its methodologies. The conglomeration of solution-makers is so sticky, it’s sweet.

There was space for every story, and no doubt that image will be upheld at this year’s conference. For those looking to attend, registration is open here, with the event held from November 10-12th! See you there!