A Letter from Our Director: Building Resilience through Racial Justice

Throughout this pandemic, the Cornell Small Farms Program has been sending messages and guidance about building resilience to the stresses this virus has created. It has required many of us to learn new skills, adapt and change our marketing approaches quickly, and pivot our own vision of how we farm.

These messages have emphasized how we are in this together. Our collective efforts are needed to Stop the Spread of the virus. 

We need to expand who we include when we say that we are in this together. Our collective efforts are needed to Stop the Violence against people of color in our communities. 

We mourn the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless known and unknown victims of racial oppression throughout history. Our hearts go out to those families and communities affected. While the events may seem distant from those of us living in rural places, the impacts of racism can be found all around us. 

The work to dismantle racism starts at home, on our farms and in our communities by understanding our own implicit biases and by assuming personal responsibility to challenge racist thinking, vocally condemn racial hatred and violence, and stand in support of our Black colleagues and every individual who suffers from racial oppression.

The Small Farms Program’s Equity and Justice Statement affirms our commitment to the Black, Indigenous and Farmers of Color in our network. 

This will require us to be brave and compassionate. Farming has prepared us to do this.  How can we work together to build more resilient, inclusive communities?  Can you answer the call and act? 

In solidarity. 

Anu Rangarajan


Director of the Cornell Small Farms Program

A Few Ways to Take Action

Support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sign the NAACP petition calling for justice and demanding reform.

Explore ways to reflect on and talk about race issues.

Support the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust.

Food Solutions New England has hosted the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge for several years. Explore their collection of materials to help learn more about racial equity in the food system.

Consider how you build a more inclusive workplace on your farm. Soul Fire Farm, in Grafton, NY, is committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. They have shared how they commit to creating a safer space. They also share ways to take action for racial justice in the food system.

Learn more about the structural racism present in the U.S. food system with this Michigan State University annotated bibliography.

Anu Rangarajan

Anu was appointed director the Cornell Small Farms Program in 2004. At the same time, she opened a U-pick strawberry farm in Freeville, NY. The experience of operating a small farm changed her entire approach to research and extension, and deepened her commitment to NY farms and local food systems.
Posted in