New grant helps explore integration of anti-racist education in schools

Local News

The South Hero Land Trust along with the Folsom Education and Community Center will begin to explore the integration of anti-racist education with its Farm to School Program. 

“Over the last year we really realized how much of that program is focused on the history and stories of white farmers,” Emily Alger, executive director at South Hero Land Trust said. “And food tradition and the experiences white people have caring for the land.”  

Alger said there was a huge part missing, when it comes to BIPOC land owners experiences.  

“We hope to be able to work with black and indigenous and people of color in Vermont to engage students in their history and stories, to understand the diverse experiences that we all have on and of the land,” Alger said. 

According to the 2017 U.S. Agriculture Census, of the nearly 7,000 farms in Vermont, only 17 are African-American-owned.  

Lydia Clemmons is the President and Executive Director from the Clemmons Family Farm. She believes anti-racist education can be helpful and transformative if done well.

“The reasons why there are so few are more tied to structural racism and to a pattern of consistent threats and attacks on land, farms and other property owned by Black/African Americans,” Lydia Clemmons said. 

The $38,000 dollar grant from the Agency of Agriculture made this possible. 

“This was an opportunity in a way to kind of open the door to those communities to those other organizations who might have really great ideas and doing some important work that we can all learn from,” Trevor Lowell, Farm to Institution Program Manager said 

The South Hero Land Trust plans to integrate this into the classroom, in the fall of 2022.

“Children are sponges in so many ways,” Alger said. “They are learning how the world works, what their place in the world is, the role that they have as individuals in changing the future of our communities.” 

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