If I may, I would like to propose a new definition for B2B. As Black, Indigenous and People of Color, we may be missing that a solid starting point for decolonizing wealth and mental decolonization is the relationship between our own communities. Not that I am saying anything new, but it’s important to acknowledge the power in the fact that an instantaneous identification and full understanding of our collective issues is understood by those who struggle the same way.
I am not interested in simply sharing in the struggles. It is good to struggle together; struggling together creates comradery, which leads to mental healing and has other multiple benefits, but it can also create a culture of victimization, anger and other negative consequences that leads to depression, isolation, more suffering and struggles. I am not here to judge anyone, nor do I have the moral standing, or believe that such actions help anyone, but reflecting and understanding the power we hold in our intellect, in our collective resources, our collective voice, and so many other commonalities that we share in this vast country is something that we can totally evaluate, recognize, and tap to improve and build conditions of justice, equity, fairness, and wellbeing. The need to resist racism, oppression, discrimination and other social illnesses are central and critical, but doing that does not change the foundational structures and system-level infrastructure on which an oppressive system perpetuates itself. Ownership and control, of property, resources, policies, and the political system are where the system anchors itself.
Shifting the balance of power results from shifting the balance of ownership and control of the infrastructure that runs the nation. This is the reason wars have been fought and the origin of policies that dominate the land, the structuring of armies and policing systems, and the delineation of who has access and who is to be kept out.
Back in October, we had the chance to visit with journalist Noah Fish of FNS (Forum News Service, Agweek) which resulted in the article and local cable news piece below. That day, we were blessed with a visit from members of the Frogtown urban farm in Saint Paul. This visit and exchange later turned into a significant investment partnership to facilitate land access for a new farm operation in our region.
One can never tell what can happen when BIPOC come together to discuss the challenges we collectively face with a focus on solutions from within our own communities. From that meeting, we received some joint exposure but also learned of existing resources within our own community which we had not yet engaged. Engaging those resources has become more feasible as we continue to build the business infrastructure and the regenerative poultry supply chain systems so those investments can be deployed. But this is just the tip of the story, the engagement of the resources among us led to the leveraging of multiple levels of other resources from partner organizations such as Iroquois Valley Farms, and Compeer Financial, which then resulted in other farms been transferred to farmers committed to the collective effort under the regenerative poultry system we are regionally deploying.
Just one week later, I took to the road with our Farm Portfolio Manager Wilber de la Rosa, we visited a few Latin American (Latine) farmers in MN and Wisconsin. This also resulted in the leveraging of almost 200 new acres of land, and significant financial support channeled through the Latino Economic Development Center in Saint Paul. Those visits also allowed us to further map the potential of consolidating these assets and leveraging them to further accelerate the process so that many more farmers can have access to land. It took only a few more weeks to find financial partners in Chicago who committed to contributing grant support so the RAA could expand its capacity to further the poultry system and also initiated a process to align capital to generate impact investments similar to the ones we had already secured among ourselves.
Since this article was written over $2 million of capital has flowed into our region’s regenerative poultry system, which is on top of almost the same amount of assets within the first half of the year, including the acquisition of a poultry processing facility in Stacyville IA. Yes, we need all the partners we can engage from outside of our communities, but in this case, the recent significant progress we have made in transferring ownership and control of land, processing infrastructure, and market share started with us BIPOC first coming together, identifying our own resources, investing them in our own operations and then leveraging them to attract and reward those who believe that fairness, equity, and justice are central tenets of a regenerative future. What we do on the land is important for regenerative agriculture systems to emerge, but a regenerative agriculture system starts at the infrastructure, system, financial, and ownership and control so that the land regeneration does not slip back into the hands of colonizing and extractive infrastructure.
Together we will reshape modern agriculture by building an ecosystem of agricultural businesses and individuals working together toward regeneration.