This past month more than 200 students and allies took to the streets in Georgia. Carrying chairs lofted high, we came to demand that the University of Georgia take a seat at the table. See, there's a long legacy of exploitation in Georgia's agricultural history; and today, Black farmers are still struggling to hold onto their land, while farmers of all races that do are too often stuck in devastating cycles of debt to the big poultry processors.
Sadly, the University of Georgia has too long been a driver of these systems of exploitation--dedicated to training farmers, and yet only training white farmers until 54 years ago. Now executives from Coca-Cola and chemical giant Dupont sit on the Board of Trustees.
That said, a new food economy is on the rise in Georgia and across the South. Farmer coops are helping small growers reach bigger markets. Area poultry and beef producers have proven that independent and humane animal husbandry can be a winning business model. Latino farmworkers have pushed big buyers to institute fair labor standards in the fields. And the African American land base is growing for the first time in recent history.
The students of Real Food UGA have been on the front lines of this fight for a better food future -- but so far President Morehead hasn't taken a stand for Georgia producers. So, we came together to make it clear: there's a chair for him at the table, if he's willing to join us in building a just and sustainable future for all farmers and farmworkers.
Racism and food injustice, of course, are not just Southern issues. That's why Real Food leaders across the country are supporting the UGA crew while raising their voices for food justice and racial justice in their own communities.