Blavity is celebrating Earth Month with Sankofa Farms’ Kamal Bell, who spoke with us about the importance of Black farming, sustainability, environmental justice and what it’s like tending to a farm every day.
Bell said that his day-to-day starts, of course, at home– where he prepares for the workday.
“I actually don’t live at the farm, so I’ll wake up at my house, I’ll drive 35 minutes to the farm and once I get there, I’ll do a brief run through just to make sure that everything on the farm [is] running correctly,” he said.
“I think that one of the biggest misconceptions about farming in 2023 is the fact that farmers are entrepreneurs,” he said, adding how people still think of an old-timey idea of a person on a tractor. “…I think we don’t look at what farming is currently. Farmers have found very innovative ways to diversify their operations.”
On his farm, he has an Airbnb experience, tours, and of course food for sale. He also teaches people how to buy their own land and how to manage it through an agricultural academy.
“There are so many different facets to a farm that I think people don’t understand…We are as innovative as we can [be] with the farm, whether that’s putting out content, programming, we just want to diversify the operation.”
He also touched on how Black farming and keeping Black land ownership helps keep Black traditions alive at a time when they are at risk of being lost due to lack of education.
I think that we’re in a very important time right now where a lot of land is transitioning, and what’s so interesting is that all the food that we eat has a story,” he said. “And I think we are just so busy that we forget that the okra, collards, how our food is prepared, the kale, there’s a relationship to who we are as Black people here in America that tells a story.”
Watch the full video above.