Black History Month is a time in which we celebrate and honor the Black excellence that has contributed to the innovation and advancements in our history – and that includes agricultural history.
I have been involved in various aspects of the agriculture industry for nearly two decades. Being a representative of the Black community, my role as Executive Director for the PA Commission for Agriculture Education Excellence is more than just a title – it's a daily contribution to Black history. And I'm honored to serve, inspire, and bring a unique perspective to this industry.
Pennsylvania's agriculture industry is made up of less than 1% Black representation, and that extremely low number fuels me to remain committed to this work. Underrepresented populations deserve to have access to, and participate in, educational and professional opportunities to help them thrive in the agriculture, food, and natural resource industries.
We can do better, and we're heading in the right direction.
Minority representation within the field of agriculture and agriculture sciences is imperative because we work to address issues that impact underserved citizens at disproportional rates. These issues include:
- Hunger and food insecurity
- Agriculture literacy
- Resource accessibility
As the world strives to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive agricultural system, it is critical that we continue to work toward a model of "ag for all." Diversity in the workplace has proven to yield significant value to society, and an emphasis on greater inclusion in agriculture will result in a stronger, more innovative industry in the future.
Earlier this month, members of the Pennsylvania FFA Association and I met at Lankenau Environmental Science Magnet High School in Philadelphia to present students and the administration with their official FFA Charter and inducted them into the PA FFA family. Lankenau also revealed their new Wildlife and Natural Resource CTE Program.
This program is a result of a continued effort to strengthen the awareness for agriculture education programs and opportunities in urban areas. The commission is committed to ensuring that everyone no matter their cultural background, has the opportunity to engage in the experiential learning opportunities within the agriculture industry.
Agriculture is for everyone, and we must strive to ensure that all people, regardless of color or creed are provided the same access, without barriers. Diversity in agriculture makes us stronger and more equitable and ensures we are putting food and fairness in the hands of everyone.
To make a difference in agriculture for future generations, consider learning more about FFA, MANRRS, or another educational organizations.
Learn more about the PA Commission for Agriculture Education Excellence.