"The Next Generation, That's Why We Continue To Do What We Do": African American Farmers Speak About Experiences with Land Ownership and Loss in North Carolina

  • Peter Balvanz University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Family Health International
  • Morgan L. Barlow University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke Global Health Institute
  • Lillianne M. Lewis University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University School of Medicine
  • Kari Samuel University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • William Owens North Carolina farmer
  • Donna L. Parker University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Molly De Marco University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Robin Crowder Family Health International
  • Yarbrough Williams North Carolina farmer
  • Dorathy Barker North Carolina farmer
  • Alexandra Lightfoot University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Alice Ammerman University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Keywords: Discrimination, Community-Based Participatory Research, African American, Land Ownership, Photovoice, Farming

Abstract

African Americans face institutional and social discrimination. The deleterious effects of discriminatory practices continue to be barriers to maintaining the family farm. Discriminatory lending is associated with farmland loss, such that the number of African American farmers in the United States has been falling at a much higher rate than that of White farmers. This community-based participatory research (CBPR) study sought to give voice to the experiences and perceptions of a small group of African American farmers in northeastern North Carolina. Researchers used Photovoice, a qualitative CBPR methodology, to identify strengths, concerns, and action steps in regards to farming and farmland loss in the community. This study revealed positive protective factors associated with farming, and long-lasting negative economic and psychological effects of discriminatory lending. Protective factors include increased self-reliance, strong work ethic, and hope for a new generation of African American farmers. Institutional discrimination remains a reported risk factor against maintaining generational family farming activities. Study participants reported a fear of further loss of the African American farming heritage as they perceive youth being deterred from the profession due to the combined effects of witnessing discrimination against their parents and the lure of fast, and often risky, money. This preliminary research revealed that African American farmers in the community of this study would benefit from innovative and engaging programs for youth, broadband internet access, and continued modification to current lending systems, including localized representation.

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Author Biographies

Peter Balvanz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Family Health International
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 170 Rosenau Hall, CB #7400, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400 USA; tel. +1 (919) 259-9828; and Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., CB# 7426, Chapel Hill, NC 27599- 7426 USA; and Family Health International, 2224 E NC Hwy 54, Durham, NC 27713 USA
Morgan L. Barlow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke Global Health Institute
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 170 Rosenau Hall, CB #7400, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400 USA; and Duke Global Health Institute, 310 Trent Drive, Trent Hall, Rm. 334, Duke Box 90519, Durham, NC 27708 USA.
Lillianne M. Lewis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University School of Medicine
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 170 Rosenau Hall, CB #7400, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400 USA; and Duke University School of Medicine, DUMC 3005, Durham, NC 27710 USA
Kari Samuel, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 170 Rosenau Hall, CB #7400, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400 USA
Donna L. Parker, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 170 Rosenau Hall, CB #7400, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400 USA
Molly De Marco, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., CB# 7426, Chapel Hill, NC 27599- 7426 USA
Robin Crowder, Family Health International
Family Health International, 2224 E NC Hwy 54, Durham, NC 27713 USA
Alexandra Lightfoot, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 170 Rosenau Hall, CB #7400, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400 USA; and Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., CB# 7426, Chapel Hill, NC 27599- 7426 USA.
Alice Ammerman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 170 Rosenau Hall, CB #7400, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400 USA; and Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., CB# 7426, Chapel Hill, NC 27599- 7426 USA.
Published
2011-06-07
How to Cite
Balvanz, P., Barlow, M. L., Lewis, L. M., Samuel, K., Owens, W., Parker, D. L., De Marco, M., Crowder, R., Williams, Y., Barker, D., Lightfoot, A., & Ammerman, A. (2011). "The Next Generation, That’s Why We Continue To Do What We Do": African American Farmers Speak About Experiences with Land Ownership and Loss in North Carolina. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(3), 67-88. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2011.013.011