Bill that could help Black farmers reclaim millions of acres ‘a step in the right direction’ – ABC News

There was a time when Black-owned farms were booming — before those farmers were stripped of tens of thousands of acres because of racist policies.

Now, most rural land in the U.S. is owned by white people. But now, finally, a new piece of legislation could help African Americans reclaim some of that acreage.

The Justice for Black Farmers Act, introduced earlier this month by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., would allow Black farmers to reclaim up to 160 acres each, at no charge, through a Department of Agriculture system of land grants.

Kamal Bell, a 29-year-old farmer in Durham, North Carolina, said that such legislation is just the beginning of efforts necessary for certain farms to become sustainable and generate revenue.

“I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction … but we need to create pipelines for African Americans to be educated on a 21st-century farm,” Bell told ABC News. “The production aspect of how to stay in business isn’t taught to you. … We learned this on our own and from other Black farmers we ended up meeting.”

Bell is CEO of Sankofa Farms, a family farm that he purchased while saving up money in college. It aims to serve as a sustainable food source in urban communities, particularly so-called food deserts with few available options for fresh produce.

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