We recognize that access to the organic and “good food” movements, and to organic certification has not been equal across all communities and groups. Systematic racism has kept our movement from reaching its full potential.  Organic Farmers Association (OFA), the National Organic Coalition (NOC), IFOAM North America, the Accredited Certifiers Association (ACA), and the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) have been meeting since the beginning of 2021 to discuss our shared desire to support building a more diverse, inclusive organic movement.

Virtual Presentation: History of Racism in US Agriculture & Organic

Organic organizations have recognized the need for training providing baseline knowledge and common language around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion across the organic community. This presentation was delivered by Beth Schermerhorn and Asha Carter from Cambium Collective with the input of the steering committee and focus groups.

***View the Recording Here***


Please take time to answer these for yourself and discuss within your work community

  • As you listen to the presentation, where did you feel tense, uncomfortable, or resistant to the content? Consider why. How can you be more open to hearing histories and experiences told from non-white perspectives?

  • Where do you see the colonizer worldview within your office, organization, and in the organic community?

    • How could your work environment be shifted towards connecting, relating, and belonging?

  • Where do you see yourself practicing the colonizer worldview? In your thoughts, behaviors, beliefs?

    • What are ways that you can shift towards connecting, relating, and belonging?

  • What power do you have to make change happen within your organization?

  • What types of changes are needed that were mentioned in the presentation? How can you be a part of making them happen?



You can find out about Cambium Collective, our presenters at: cambiumcollective.org

Videos from the presentation:

Other resources from the presentation for you to explore:

Project Background

The most recent Ag Census data shows that Black, Indigenous, and other people of color are underrepresented in farming, including organic farming.

Additionally, there is a critical lack of racial diversity in the population of organic certifiers, organic inspectors, and in the staff of organic farm organizations providing much of the nation’s organic technical assistance and educational programming.

We recognize that the organic community needs some basic training for certifiers, inspectors, technical assistance providers, farmers, and staff at organic educational organizations. We need training focused on:

  • the legacy and history of race in food & ag systems
  • how institutions and systems produce unjust and inequitable outcomes
  • how to remove barriers within their organic organizations

We also need to support each other in making progress in our efforts to tackle systemic racism in our organizations and in the broader organic community.

This project is supported through funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, National Organic Program. Learn about the other projects funded here.


Please contact Alice Runde, Project Manager.