Social Justice and Agroforestry

Author: Savanna Institute

Description: In the Agroforestry Foundations Online Course, we asked you to reflect on the question, “Why are you interested in agroforestry?” People become interested in agroforestry for many different reasons: to reduce their reliance on farm inputs, to improve financial viability through profitable tree crops, to grow food more sustainably, to improve community food security, to reclaim cultural practices, or any number of other reasons.

For many people, at least part of their interest lies in being an active participant in an agricultural system that is more environmentally regenerative, economically viable, and socially responsible than the current dominant US agricultural system. Creating a more regenerative and equitable agricultural system through agroforestry, however, requires us to recognize and address the injustices that have led to, and continue to shape, the current system. In Lesson 1 of this course, we critically examine how current regenerative and sustainable agriculture movements often overlook who is benefiting from these transitions and how this oversight can perpetuate social injustice. In Lesson 2, we examine the historical foundations of injustice in alternative agriculture movements by building an understanding of how racism is entangled in US agriculture and how profits are often prioritized over landscape and human well-being. In Lesson 3, we will apply the knowledge from Lessons 1 and 2 to our understanding of how to engage in more socially just agroforestry movements today.

We recommend that you borrow or purchase the book “Farming While Black” as a companion to this course. A few assigned readings in this course are from this book, although we do not provide access to it. Your ability to fully understand and engage with the course content will be enhanced if you have access to the book, so please consider borrowing or purchasing it.

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