It is estimated that the number of Black farmers in the United States has been reduced by about 98 percent over the past century. As a result, Historically Black Florida A&M University and the National Black Food & Justice Alliance (NBFJA) have announced the launch of the Lola Hampton-Frank Pinder Center for Agroecology. The goal of the new center is to grow and expand practices, develop innovative solutions, and provide cross-institutional support for our land grant institutions and future generations of land stewards to carry forward the food system and climate resilience our communities need and deserve.
Named after local land stewards and champions of sustainable agriculture, Lola Hampton and Frank Pinder, the center will provide an interdisciplinary space, a think tank, where Black farmers’ voices, needs, ideas, challenges, and strategies are discussed together with the support of scholarship and research to promote relevant changes and policy recommendations as a part of the solutions. The center will also develop local maps for food infrastructure while unearthing, recording, and preserving the food culture and foodways of Black, indigenous, and other marginalized farmers. The center will offer a critical intervention in research, training, and steering the next generation of farmers and land stewardship practices away from extraction and harm and towards practices that will recover agricultural systems, heal communities, and lend toward the remediation of climate catastrophes.
Jennifer Taylor, an associate professor in the university’s College of Agriculture and Food Sciences and co-director of the new center stated that “the Lola Hampton-Frank Pinder Center for Agroecology presents such an excellent opportunity to engage our underserved Black farming communities in order to strengthen capacity – to build healthy farm environments, healthy food and healthy food sovereignty systems, and healthy communities. At the same time, this center will engage our students in hands-on learning about organic farming systems, the benefits of organic agriculture, and careers in agroecology and integrated areas,”
“The dwindling number of Black farmers has long been a major cause of concern. I’m delighted that Florida A&M University will host the Lola Hampton-Frank Pinder Center for Agroecology,” added Larry Robinson, president of Florida A&M University. “This initiative, named for two members of our community who have been devoted to this issue, will go a long way toward providing the training for the next generation of farmers.”