Support the Ujamaa Farmer Collective in Yolo County
The main function and purpose of Ujamaa Farmer Collective is to provide affordable and secured access to land for existing land-ready, independently managed BIPOC farm businesses that layers in cooperative economics to encourage collaboration amongst farmers. Long-term and affordable leasing opportunities, ranging from ½ acre to 20-acre plots owned by the collective, will enable existing farm business owners to grow their operations on secure land parcels. The Collective also aims to provide on-site housing for the farmers, allowing these business owners to fully immerse themselves in their farms while also raising and tending to their families.
Ujamaa Farmer Collective has been made possible by the persistent lobbying and ground work by a family of farming, racial justice and environmental groups that have come together over many years in the Sacramento area, and in Yolo County specifically. Ujamaa Farmer Collective has been developed under the umbrella of state and agricultural foundations, namely the Race and Equity Council within the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Farmer Justice Collaborative.
Collective leaders are asking their community of friends and fellow community members to make a contribution of $100 dollars or more. Any amount you can donate is the right amount. Visit the GoFundMe site “Build the Next Generation CA Black Farmers” OR make a Tax Deductible Donation to the California Association with Family Farmers (CAFF) (don’t forget to write in Ujamaa Farmer Collective in the “Tell Us Why You Donated to CAFF” field on the donation form). CAFF receives high marks from non-profit review organizations.
Core Project Partners
Core project partners include Kitchen Table Advisors, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, the Center for Land-Based Learning, and the People’s Land Fund.
The family of local farms, organizations and advocacy groups involved with Ujamaa Farmer Collective and endorsing the land purchase and Nelson’s leadership (see more info below) includes Afrikan Black Coalition, Brown Sugar Farm, Center for Land Based Learning, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Cultural Roots Nursery, EatGoodful, Feed Black Futures, Global Food Justice Center for Expertise, Grocery Croppers, Growing The Table, Kiss The Ground, Kitchen Table Advisors, Hip Hop Congress, National Young Farmers Coalition, Sacramento Food Policy Council, Sankofa Market, Table Farm Table Bread, We Grow Urban Farm, West Sacramento Urban Farm Program, and Yisrael Family Farm.
To learn more about Ujamaa Farmer Collective and support their vision, you can follow them on Instagram at @ujamaafarmercollective and visit the Kitchen Table Farms webpage describing the Ujamaa Farmer Collective effort.
Costs and Sponsors
Ujamaa Farmer Collective is to receive a State allocation of $2.5 million in 2023 for the purpose of funding land access for underserved farmers of color. Land access has been the #1 barrier for BIPOC farmers for generations**. Assembly Bill 179 2022 Budget Act Section 207 subsection (k) item 10: directs funds to Yolo County for Underserved Farmers Cooperative. Of the $2.5 million about 70% is earmarked for land and the balance offsets 3 years of farming equipment, infrastructure and labor. Revenue will come from land use fees, foundation, state and federal programs.
It costs a lot to start a farm and pay for land and irrigation infrastructure. The State allocation is not expansive and the budget is set for the purchase of between 60 and 100 acres of farmland in Yolo County. This project is underway.
Ujamaa Farmer Collective and the community supporting the Collective has not wavered from its commitment to provide a land based start to serve agricultural racial equity, sustainable community, and food production capabilities in Yolo County. Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and State Senator Bill Dodd negotiated hard to get the allocation for land purchase for the farm. Quick action is necessary to pay for administration, farm staff, and staff support, which supports Nelson and his family, until the state allocation is distributed. Our goal is to raise $50,000 to secure the ongoing necessary work.
The Ujamaa Farmer Collective will be listed under an existing 501c3 organization, the Collective’s fiscal sponsor. All but fiscal sponsor administration costs will go to the project. The Ujamaa Farmer Collective use of funds is also being guided by the California Association with Family Farmers (CAFF).
Questions and Answers
**What is Ujamaa Farmer Collective all about?
Built upon the work of AB 1348: The Farmer Equity Act, a compassionate group of advocates within the CDFA BIPOC Advisory Committee came together with stakeholders to develop a tangible solution to address the number one challenge facing historically underserved farmers of color as identified in the 2020 CDFA Farmer Equity Report, land tenure.
Together, we successfully secured a district budget request in Yolo County to acquire a parcel of land between 60-100 acres. Our leadership team has identified several potential sites where we will launch this program, awaiting release of the funds to purchase a suitable property.
Our primary objective is to build a Black-led, BIP0C-centered multiple farm business cooperative dedicated to 1) affordable lease rates for multiple existing BIP0C farmers/ranchers struggling with land security, 2) empowering next-generation farmers, and 3) connecting to urban communities seeking connection to land and local food distribution
Why this donation and why now?
This is a once in a generation opportunity to do something well within our grasp that will have a significant positive impact right here at home. The impact will reverberate in all aspects of Yolo county racial equity lived experience, in our sustainable food system, in the resilience of our community.
Since the middle of February, Ujamaa Farmer Collective, selected and secured our fiscal sponsorship through Possibility Labs to receive the state funding we advocated for to acquire a 50-100 acre parcel of land. Now the real work begins as we actively search for a suitable property in Yolo County. Ujamaa Farmer Collective is looking to raise $50,000 to establish a solid platform for establishing long-term funding. It takes money to make money.
Who will be receiving my donation?
GoFundMe “Build the Next Generation Ca Black Farmers” donations go directly to Nelson Hawkins with oversight from the Ujamaa Farmer Collective Advisory Committee. There are no strings attached to the money that is provided through GoFundMe for the Ujamaa Farmer Collective. This is true for any donations made to GoFundMe projects. The advantage of GoFundMe is that your donation goes directly to the intended project, it is immediate and has the lowest administration fee. GoFundMe has a smaller 3.7% fee applied to the amount donated. You will notice that GoFundMe itself asks for a donation in addition – you can opt out of that and just donate to Ujamaa Farmer Collective. Funds provided to GoFundMe are not tax deductible, if that is important for your donation. GoFundMe is preferred by Ujamaa Farmer Collective that helped build the GoFundMe donation page.
Funds will also be collected by the California Association with Family Farmers (CAFF). These donations will be tax deductible. CAFF is a foundational partner with the leadership of Ujamaa Farmer Collective and is part of their Advisory Committee. A 5% administration fee will apply to funds donated through CAFF and it will take a week or two to get funds to Nelson and Ujamaa Farmer Collective to pay for necessities and administration to assure that the land acquisition funding from the State is directed to Ujamaa Farmer Collective. The California Association with Family Farmers mission is: To build sustainable food and farming systems through policy advocacy and on-the-ground programs that create more resilient family farms, communities, and ecosystems
Founded in 1978, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers is a California-based nonprofit that builds sustainable food and farming systems through local and statewide policy advocacy and on-the-ground programs in an effort to initiate institutionalized change. CAFF programs address current problems and challenges in food and farming systems, creating more resilient family farms, communities, and ecosystems. CAFF works to support family farmers and serve community members throughout the state, including consumers, food service directors, schoolchildren and low-income populations with the aim of growing a more resilient, just and abundant food system for all Californians.
What else can I do to help?
Add your name to the list of donors and indicate that you want to be contacted in the future to support Ujamaa Farmer Collective. The Ujamaa Farmer Collective will have numerous ways you can participate by purchasing farmed products, joining in events and living in a community where racial justice continues to make its way in a world recovering from centuries of intentional and unintentional oppression directed toward Black people and people of color. Recognize that you are on a journey and the work is not about an end in sight, just continued intentional being with each other in love and care.
Can I donate anonymously?
Yes, you simply indicate that you do not want to have your name listed as a donor publicly, either at the GoFundMe or California Association with Family Farmers (CAFF) donation pages.
Can I send a check or VENMO directly to Nelson?
Yes, sometimes sending a check is just easier. You can mail in a check to Nelson Hawkins/Ujamaa to:
PO Box 363
Davis, CA 95617
or Venmo to Nelson directly – @nelhawk (his VENMO account)
Nelson Hawkings is the Managing Director and Founder of We Grow Urban Farms, based in West Sacramento, now in its sixth season. Nelson is also the Agriculture Project Manager for Ujamaa Farmer Collective located in Yolo county. Nelson has over 13 years of experience in small diversified farms. Nelson earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from UC Davis with a minor in ecology. He currently serves on the Black Indigenous People of Color Advisory Committee (BIPOC) at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Policy Committee at Community Alliance with Family Farms and he has been accepted into the Political Leadership Fellowship with the National Young Farmers Coalition with the goal of inspiring and empowering the next generation of farmers of color. He shares leadership with Nate Brown, Brian Pnkney, Keith Hudson as part of the Ujamaa Farmers Collective leadership circle. He is a father of Simone (2) and his newborn son Myles, who he is raising with his wife Tonisha.
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