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  • Michi Lopez

Cultivemos Wellness Resources for Black and Brown Farmers

By Míchi López




Many of us know that farming is a rewarding career and lifestyle, but it’s not without its own challenges. Though they value their families and communities, farmers can work extended hours alone, away from those they care about the most, and their work is extremely taxing on their brains, hearts, and bodies. The isolation of farming can further damage farmers' mental health, especially as they fight to keep their farms afloat while facing natural disasters, uncertainty about the Farm Bill, and difficulty accessing credit.


Now consider the mental damage that farmers feel when those farmers have been historically racially targeted and marginalized. In the United States, there is an interminable history of racism and inequity in our country, and our agricultural systems are not exempt from these horrors. The challenges and stressors that Black and Brown farmers face are not limited to isolation and loneliness but also to the blatant discrimination that they face from white farmers and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The systemic racism stemming from USDA chokes out Black and Brown-owned or operated farms: these land stewards are prevented from accessing credit that can bolster or even save their farms. These farmers are denied necessary resources, which not only hurts their farms but their health as well. Though the USDA is attempting to atone for its discriminatory practices through the Discrimination Financial Assistance Program, there is also a need to address the well-being of the farmers who have survived these prejudices.


At Cultivemos, we recognize that many stressors in the farming and ranching communities result from, and are deeply connected to, the historic and ongoing racism and inequity of agricultural and healthcare systems in our country.


While we recognize the past terrors against farmers who are Black, Indigenous, Asian, and other People of Color (BIPOC) we know we must also address the current harms in the realms of agriculture and mental health.


Cultivemos is building an inclusive network of service providers in the Northeast dedicated to advancing the mental, emotional, social, and financial well-being of agricultural producers, workers, and their families. Cultivemos does this in part by regranting USDA funds to farmers and service providers doing on-the-ground wellness work within farming communities. Stressors specific to racially marginalized farmers cannot be understood by white farmers, white service providers, and white wellness workers. Cultivemos is funding resources and solutions created by Black and Brown farmers to address their specific needs. Here are some of the resources created by Black and Brown farmers in our network (ENG indicates the resources are available in English and ESP indicates they are available in Spanish):


Repairing Our Roots (ENG)

Repairing our Roots is a publicly accessible database of conflict mediation resources tailored towards Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous, and People of Color farmers created by the Queer and Trans BIPOC Farmer Cohort. This project includes online interviews with folks who have organized within or are currently part of a QTBIPOC farming collective. This project includes an online magazine (called Zine for short), audio files of the interviews, and an accompanying playlist. Visit repairingourroots.com


Cultivating Resilience (ENG or ESP)

Cultivating Resilience is a podcast featuring candid conversations with farmers about how they find connection and strength amid daily struggles. Topics include financial stress, rural isolation, and other key contributors to farmer stress, as well as stories on navigating these difficult times. Episodes are available in either English or Spanish with captions on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Cultivating Resilience was created by the Farm Communications Cohort and is hosted by Hans Hageman and Dr. Kay-Megan Washington.


Cápsulas de Bienestar (ESP)

Cápsulas de Bienestar is an online Spanish wellness series of 5 capsules addressing important topics, such as mental health challenges in the Latine community and stories of overcoming these challenges with community and mutual support. Mental health is a taboo topic among many in the Latine community: ideas such as “Latines are strong and do not suffer from ‘nonsense’ such as depression, anxiety, stress, etc” are rampant. The Latine community is not exempt from these conditions that affect mental health, and rather, it is important to recognize how community members are dealing or not dealing with mental health crises. In these capsules, discussions around which strategies are beneficial to Latine farmer mental health and which strategies create more problems, such as violence, alcoholism, substance abuse, obesity and inactivity, isolation, etc, are shared. This resource arose from the lack of Spanish language resources for farmers. The Latine Farmer Cohort created these capsules. The Wellness Capsules are found on YouTube @AgricultoresLatinesenVermont.


La Fuerza Latina Magazine (ESP)

La Fuerza Latina is an online Spanish magazine focused on the Latino farming community. This magazine highlights several Latino farmers' stories and provides resources for Spanish-speaking land stewards. This resource arose from the lack of Spanish language resources for farmers. La Fuerza Latina Cohort created this magazine and can be found at https://www.flipsnack.com/fuerzalatinamagazine/fuerza-latina-01.html


Additional Cultivemos Resources

Farm Aid’s Farmer Resource Network is a free search tool that can be used to find organizations and resources useful for farmers, agricultural service providers, farmworkers, farm communities, and farming families across the United States. Cultivemos supports the resource network and has a Spanish call-in line to help Spanish-speaking land stewards locate appropriate resources. The Spanish hotline is available Monday through Friday from 9am - 5pm Eastern Time at 1-800-FARM-AID.


Monthly In Living Color BIPOC Community Care Circles

Community Care Circles are free and themed monthly spaces open to all land stewards of color. These circles focus on self-care, community care, and land-based care. The circles are infused with tender knowledge sharing on plant medicine, ancestral practices, and seasonal flows that impact farmers’ well-being. There will always be space for questions, collaboration, laughter, and tears in these circles. To join the circles, please register by sending us an email at cultivemos.org or inlivingcolorspace@gmail.com


For more resources or to support farmer and farmworker mental health efforts, visit cultivemos.org and follow Cultivemos_ne on Instagram. Contact cultivemos@youngfarmers.org with inquiries.


This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) project 2019-70028-30464 and 2020-70028-32729.




Míchi López is a former and future farmer with experience in asset-based community development and story mapping.

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