Ark Republic and Black Farmers Index continue their series, Black Farmer and Chef with a free, live cooking class led by Chef Cassandra Loftlin

Join us in our second installment of the “Black Farmer and a Chef,” a live, interactive events initiative highlighting the high quality produce, seafood, and other foods of Black growers.

Black Farmers Index features  Chef Cassandra Loftlin to celebrate the intersection of race and agriculture in the “Black Farmer and a Chef” live, free Zoom cooking class on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 8 p.m. EST.

The cooking class will feature seafood from Apex Seafood Market in Apex, NC; jams from Browntown Farms located in Warfield, VA; and spices from Earth and Field sea salt company. 

“Food is an important issue in the country, and it’s about time to support those who have been feeding us . . . Black farmers,” says Chef Cassandra who works at America’s Test Kitchen. Chef Cassandra raised money for Black Farmers Index along with its sister company, Ark Republic in the #bakersagainstracism campaign that started after the George Floyd protests. To date, she’s raised almost $4,000 for her efforts.

The series is the efforts between Ark Republic and Black Farmers Index to bring as much exposure to Black growers and food producers. The inaugural event was with Chef Khari Hairston-El who is a cheesecake master. He made several cakes using ingredients from R & R Farms in Simpson, Mississippi, Bourne Brilliant spices in Tallahassee, Florida, and jams from Browntown Farms.

How did Black Farmers Index get started? While on assignment in Italy during the pandemic, Dr. Kaia Shivers  – of Black Farmers Index and NYU –  realized that there was a surplus of food insecurity that not just threatened consumers, but producers as well. 

“The index focuses on Black farmers because they are the most maligned in the agricultural industry, but they’re also independent because few of them have funding or backing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). On one hand, they would experience issues in the pandemic, but it also provided a window to sell their food without USDA constraints.”

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Hence, working out of their grandmother’s home in Lafayette, Louisiana, Dr. Shivers along with her sisters in California and Maryland began highlighting Black farmers from all over North America, South America, Europe, and Africa; expanding the index to over 800 listings to date, and growing.

“Black farms play a huge part in [environmental and racial justice]. As we discovered, most of the farms we have on the list either use natural or organic growing methods. They sell local, and they also do not waste anything they grow.”

In the spirit of not wasting opportunities, including the time and availability of multitudes of people during the pandemic, the Black Farmers Index organized a series of innovative live events. Following a Christmas tea party featuring fruit preservatives from Browntown Farms, this is the second installment of the “Black Farmer and a Chef” initiative.

“We want to ensure that the people are fed, and so are the farmers.”

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We’re raising money for Ark Republic and Black Farmers Index.  We need your help to keep the wheels churning and the stories flowing. Please donate to organizations committed to keeping you informed with rich, robust stories and great connections to empowered people.

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