The World We Live In,
The World We Create
As a womxn-led farm operating in the United States, we are pushing back against past and present oppression. We seek to make Milkweed Tussock Tubers a base for change, growing and celebrating a community of social and ecological love, diversity, acceptance and understanding.
Womxn, Agriculture and the World
70% of the world's food is produced by 70% of the world's farmers. The majority of those agriculturists are womxn of color, working three hectares or less. These brilliant, hardworking ladies are of diverse backgrounds, desires and needs. Some have inherited the gift of the green thumb from their mothers, grandmothers, ancestors. Some have returned to the touch of the star-spotted soil after generations away. But we all have one thing in common - we know that Earth is our friend. And we must treat them as such. And when we do, we feed the world. There is more power in one seed of teff in a little girl's hand than in the entirety of the U.N. World Food Programme.
Overlooked - and often suppressed - in industrial agriculture is the connection between the true self of the farmer and the true self of the farm. At MTT, we seek to provide a safe space for folks of all genders and sexualities to grow. We want to recognize the beauty and interconnectedness of queer culture, healthy ecosystems, strong food systems and loving societies.
If we examine the science, we see that diverse expressions of gender and sexuality are universal, a part of human and non-human cultures alike. MTT is working to honor the rainbow inherent in Nature. We hope that our advocacy results in public, intentional support of the queer agricultural community, and we stand in solidarity with like-minded organizations.
A fun reminder that this world is abundantly queer:
At least ninety percent of scientifically-studied flowering plants have hermaphroditic, bisexual flowers. This means that these "perfect flowers" contain male and female reproductive organs. And then you've got ones that are sexually fluid, like the Dungowan Bush Tomato.
In over 450 species of animals, scientists have documented consistent same-sex intimacy, pair-bonding and parental activities. Birds, mammals, reptiles and insects regularly flaunt their boundless love.
Information borrowed from an excerpted chapter of Black Earth Wisdom by Leah Penniman.
Bringing BIPOC Forward
As the head of Milkweed Tussock Tubers, I am a white woman, farming in a county where almost 95% of the human population look like me. I do not know - nor do any MTT employees know - what it is like to be a BIPOC farmer.
But here's what we do know:
- Systemic, deliberate, racist policies have pushed people of color and indigenous peoples from their lands.
- Cultural genocide has led to the endangerment or loss of traditional, indigenous agricultural practices.
- Financial services and government assistance has been limited to primarily white, cis, male farmers.
- Less than one percent of farmland is currently owned by BIPOC farmers.
- Despite making up the majority of the industrialized agricultural workforce, farmworkers, who are primarily immigrants and people of color, have no rights or land access.
And there is a massive, powerful wave working to change this. Leaders such as Leah Penniman, Rowen White and Diana Saigulan are at the forefront of the movement for permanent re-structuring of the American food system.
Where does MTT fit into all of this? The truth is, I don't know. But I want to stand in solidarity with BIPOC farmers and farmworkers. We here can use our privilege to undo the harm caused by our ancestors to our fellow land-lovers. And we can start now.
Accessibility In Action
"Farming and gardening are some of the best ways someone with a disability can connect to the outdoors and nature. Having the right tools and an enthusiastic assistant are key to making this connection"
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, 28% of farmers and farmworkers operate under some sort of disability. These disabilities can include the inability to walk, blindness, difficulty hearing, cognitive difficulties, age and more.
At this time, Milkweed Tussock Tubers is not handicapped accessible. We see this as a serious gap in our ability to serve our greater community, and seek to rectify the situation. With the assistance of Ann Bennett of Bittersweet Farm, we are designing methods to make regenerative agriculture an exciting option for all.
Our goals include, but are not limited to:
- Building wheelchair-accessible pathways through and within gardens.
- Making the farmhouse handicapped accessible, with an entrance ramp and accessible bathroom.
- Creating instructional signs and labels for those with memory impairment.
- Installing more gates, and improving existing gates and doors. This shortens the walk between animals and eases chore doing.
- Becoming relatively proficient in ASL, in order to increase communication and our ability to teach.
- Designing ergonomic and unusual tools for diverse users.
- Creating storage crates and bags lightweight and small enough for everyone to carry.
All of this takes time, but we are committed to making the universal need for good food something that is universally accessible.