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BIPOC farmers in Conn. may be small in number, but they have plenty of stories to tell

A mixture of flower seeds rests in the palm of 26-year-old farmer, Xóchitl Garcia while sowing in a 4-foot by 8-foot community garden bed in Fair Haven.
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
A mixture of flower seeds rests in the palm of 26-year-old farmer, Xóchitl Garcia while sowing in a 4-foot by 8-foot community garden bed in Fair Haven.

One-third of Connecticut’s residents identify as people of color, but statistically, more than 98% of Connecticut’s farmers are white.

It’s a disparity rooted in generations of racism, unequal access to land and credit, and systemic discrimination.

But while their numbers are small, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) farmers do exist in Connecticut.

All summer long, we are bringing you their stories through audio interviews and photographs, which will be posted here.

Listen to these farmers in their own words.

Xóchitl Garcia, 26

“Growing up, my family made agriculture a taboo subject because it was a method of survival.”

A woman explores how farming intersects with her Mexican identity while working at a community garden in New Haven. (Originally aired: 6/13/22)


Liz Guerra, 37 & Héctor Gerardo, 38

“We are not a traditional ‘ag’ family … We came here with a dream and a compost box.”

The co-owners of Seamarron Farmstead in Danbury want you to know that “Black farmers do exist and BIPOC farmers – in Connecticut.” They describe a farming journey that started on a New York City fire escape and led to their farm, where they grow everything from garlic to hemp in the backyard of their Connecticut homestead. (Originally aired: 6/6/22)


Sarah Rose Kareem, 29, & Azeem Zakir Kareem, 29

She was like, ‘Why is no one coming? This is so strange. Why is no one here?’ I'm like, 'cuz you got a Black dude here.’ This isn't a place where you just find Black people walking around.”

Speaking on a windy day outside their Windsor Locks farm, the married co-founders of Samad Gardens Initiative celebrate the freedom they’ve found farming, but they say customers at farmers markets treat them differently depending on who’s behind the stand.

Updated: June 13, 2022 at 8:26 AM EDT
This story has been updated.