The UJAMAA COOPERATIVE FARMING ALLIANCE (UCFA) will be holding it's Spring 2023 convening of members, partners, and supporters in Kentucky during April of 2023.
UCFA is a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) led program under the non-profit STEAM ONWARD.
At UCFA we recognize the need for increased diversity in farming in general, and diversity in the $15 billion dollar U.S. seed industry in particular. We are committed to providing increased opportunities and support for growers from equity-seeking communities. To this end, the Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance is working to bridge the gap between prospective growers and seed companies
The UCFA SPRING 202 CONVENING will take place on:
Saturday April 22, 2023
Sunday April 23, 2023
Monday April 24, 2023, and
Tuesday April 25, 2023
Saturday April 22, 2023: Atrus Ballew Farm, Richmond, KY
Sunday - Tuesday April 23 - 25, 2023 Berea College Forestry Outreach Center, Berea, KY
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Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South has faced fierce opposition over the years, first from armed, pro-slavery militias to segregation imposed by the state legislature. The mission of the Forestry Outreach Center is to provide a space in which people of all ages can learn about the natural world and, specifically, the Berea College Forest. Using a model of community education in which each person participates as both a teacher and a learner, our hope is that the Center will act as a bridge between College and community, fostering an attitude of stewardship of the ecosystems and watersheds that sustain us! As a service, the Berea College Forestry Outreach Center offers interdisciplinary environmental education for school and community groups free of charge.
Atrus Ballew Farm sits in the historic Concord community, an enclave of formerly enslaved African Americans in Madison County, KY. After the Civil War this rural community was actively involved in Black farmer, teacher, church and business cooperatives. During the 1900s the progressive activities of folks in Concord attracted individuals such as W.E.B. DuBois, George Washington Carver, Ida B. Wells Barnett, Mary Church Terrell, and others to Richmond, Kentucky.
The Ballew family has had a long-term relationship with Berea College since it was founded by John Fee in 1855 and since 1879 when their great grandfather DB Ballew enrolled at Berea College as a student. Over the years, numerous other family members have also graduated from Berea College as did Carter G. Woodson and Naomi Tutu to name just a few.
Cousins Jim Embry and Tiffany El-Amin, as descendants of these agrarian intellectual activists, are the current caretakers of this family farm that was purchased in 1889 from those who stole the land. Jim is also serving as the local coordinator for our Spring Convening and welcomes the Ujamaa family to his Birthday and Butterflies Celebration on April 22.
Madison County is located in the bioregion that sits at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, is fed by the Kentucky River watershed, and is nourished by the soil heavenly mineralized with limestone rock. This region is the ancestral unceded homeland of these indigenous peoples: Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East), S’atsoyaha (Yuchi), Shawandasse Tula (Shawanwaki/Shawnee), Hopewell Culture, and Adena Culture land.