There are bottlenecks and gaps in financing, access to land, a lack of understanding in the technical assistance community, and limited outreach and support to BIPOC communities. The retention and recruitment of BIPOC living, working, and thriving in the state is critical for Vermont’s future. It is also crucial that Vermont’s food system acknowledge the significant economic impact of BIPOC in the state—through farming, food, labor, entrepreneurship, innovation, and more.
Minimal data currently exists about food insecurity rates by race in Vermont, and a one-size-fits-all approach to increasing food security does not effectively reach all under-resourced BIPOC communities. Deep rooted, structural racism in the food system has perpetuated racial inequity within farming and food production, to food access and food security, to the workforce, and beyond. Building an equitable food system, and the onus of better supporting, serving, and partnering with BIPOC communities in Vermont, cannot solely fall on BIPOC. White stakeholders can and must do more to support a more racially equitable food system, in consultation with and following the leadership of BIPOC to make equitable and just transformations.
BIPOC should be included in the State of Vermont’s economic development planning efforts, and programs to support BIPOC business ownership should be created, among other suggested initiatives. Read the brief for details and recommendations.
Attempts to address racial equity in the Vermont workforce are often met with the mythology that there are not enough BIPOC in Vermont to be favorably impacted. There are opportunities to diversify service provider programs and hiring to better align with and leverage the goals and strengths of BIPOC farmers and BIPOC-led groups, to model alternative farmland access and financing methods, and a more racially diverse workforce could help service providers serve BIPOC constituents.
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