African Americans have been marginalized in the agricultural industry too.
The teens who work at Soul Fire Farmin Grafton, New York, aren’t your typical field hands. They aren’t just there for a paycheck or because they love working the land—but to avoid incarceration. As part of Soul Fire’s restorative justice program, Project Growth, juvenile offenders work with the farm and other area nonprofits, learning marketable skills and earning money to pay restitution for their crimes.
While weeding may appear to be a better option than jail, one young man who opted for farmwork over incarceration didn’t have especially high hopes for the 50 hours he had to spend at Soul Fire.
“I basically expected it to be like slavery, but it would be better than jail,” Asan told Yes! Magazine. “It was different though. We got paid and we got to bring food home. The farmers there are black like us, which I did not expect.”