Minnesota Food Justice Summit Brings Diverse Farmers to Talk Equality

Summit runs Monday through Wednesday at the DECC.

DULUTH, Minn.- The Minnesota Food Justice Summit packed the DECC with farmers, food buyers, and other members of Minnesota’s food system to focus on making the way Minnesota gets its food equal to all.

Summit officials say that due to redlining, or denying services to residents or specific neighborhoods, mostly based on race, has made it hard for black, indigenous, and people of color farmers to own their own land and get their products to market.

This, in an industry that is 99.5% white.

“A lot of farmers of color are renting land from other landowners they don’t own their own land, which means they’re not able to make capital improvements into the land without feeling like: if their lease is up in five or 10 years and the landowner decides to sell it then all their investment is lost,” said Miah Ulysse, co-chair of the Summit.

Farmers from different communities interacted over food from around the world.

They said the Summit is a nice place for them to have conversations about food access, and different cultures’ relationship with food.

“I’m a Somali American, I am a farmer, I’m a mother, I want to connect to everyone from community gardeners to someone like myself to develop greenspace, and create traditional farming ways that we practice culturally,” Naima Dhore from Oak Grove said.

The Summit also aims to address the growing number of farmers who are aging, without another generation to take over the farms.

20% of the Summit’s budget is devoted to scholarships to get people to the event.

Over the next few days attendees will split into breakout groups to address topics like Healthcare and Food Access, Economic Development, and more.

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