Cornell CALS - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

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Cornell Small Farms Program Equity and Justice Statement

The Cornell Small Farms Program is a statewide research and extension program serving the needs of aspiring and active farmers in New York and the Northeast. As a part of the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cornell Cooperative Extension, we help people get expert assistance to facilitate all phases of small farm business development, from initial launch to optimization to maturity.

We serve anyone who self-identifies as a contributor to farm and food systems from seed to market, including farm owners, managers, value-chain members and employees. This includes all experience levels, from rural to urban settings.

We recognize that there are historical and present-day injustices that have made access to capital, land, education and supportive networks more challenging for people of color, indigenous people, women, people who are economically disadvantaged, and immigrants who want to operate and own farms.

We also recognize that our affiliation to a well-known academic institution provides privilege and access to resources including funding, land, and infrastructure. We commit to ensuring, to the greatest extent possible, that our time, energy, and financial resources are committed equitably to all people. We will continue to be actively engaged and involved in relationship building, collaboration, and support of efforts to build diverse, equitable and just food systems.

The staff of the Cornell Small Farms Program commits to the following actions:

  • Support all farmers of different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, gender identities, nations of origin, ability and economic class
  • Examine our own roles in, and understanding of, systemic challenges
  • Support project partners to develop relationships with diverse audiences
  • Engage in diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism trainings and networks
  • Commit to improving the inclusiveness of our work through ongoing reflection, discussion and actions
  • Tell stories of diverse farmers in our outreach (e.g. Small Farms Quarterly, e-newsletter, social media)
  • Empower farm employees to move into management and ownership positions though targeted training
  • Cultivate inclusive dialogue to elevate all voices
  • Offer print and web resources in multiple languages, literacy levels, and strive to enhance accessibility
  • Promote tools, strategies and adaptive/assistive technologies that support access to farming for all
  • Act as a leader in modeling how to provide equitable and just support to all farmers
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